Millau Viaduct – An Amazing Engineering Feat

By P Chong                            Sat. 10 April 2010

Le Viaduc Millau

I’ve just got to share this as a “cyberspace traveller” & wish to have the opportunity to travel over this fantastic stretch of vehicular-bridge in the not too distant future, though I have been to Paris & Barcelona before. Read the description & see the pictures & you’ll understand why.

Official Name: Le Viaduc de Millau

This is an enormous cable-stayed road-bridge that spans the valley of the River Tarn near Millau in southern France.

Driving Above The Clouds

There’s something just not right about driving above the clouds . . . no doubt a little nervous too!

Designed by the structural engineer Michel Virlogeux

and British architect Norman Foster

The Millau Viaduct is part of the new E11 Expressway connecting Paris and Barcelona and features the highest bridge piers ever constructed. The tallest is 240 metres (787 feet) high and the overall height is an impressive 336 metres (1102 feet), making this the highest vehicular bridge in the world . . . taller than Eiffel Tower & only 37m (121ft) shorter than the Empire State Building.

Interestingly, the Millau Viaduct is not straight as can be seen from above picture. Why?

It’s because a straight road could induce a floating sensation as you drive across it. So, a slight curve remedies that feeling. The curve is 20km in range.

Moreover, the road has a light incline of 3% to improve the visibility and reassure the driver.

Millau Auto Route Map
Toll Plaza

Construction cost was around €400 million. It was formally dedicated on 14 December 2004, inaugurated the day after and opened to traffic two days later.

The bridge won the 2006 IABSE Outstanding Structure Award.

Truly an amazing engineering feat!

Visitors’ Centre & Farm


3 thoughts on “Millau Viaduct – An Amazing Engineering Feat

  1. Bartonian

    You may be interested to know that Michel Virlogeux structural engineer /designer of the Millau Viaduct will be giving a public presentation in Glasgow 6.45 pm, Wednesday 5 May 2010
    Room K3.25, John Anderson Building
    University of Strathclyde

    Michel Virlogeux will use the design of long span bridges as a vehicle for discussing the role of the design engineer in the multidisciplinary context of major construction projects.

    Entrance is by ticket only which can be obtained free of charge from the IESIS office, Clydeport Building, 16 Robertson Street, Glasgow, G2 8DS,

    more details on the flyer : –

    Click to access 001_Flyer_05_May_2010_GLA_Michel_Virlogeux_Eve_Presentation.pdf

  2. Mariya Stephen

    Paul does this floating bridge really exist? I wonder how it feels when you are driving above the clouds, and wow…. the beautiful scenery that you see up there must be very beautiful and wonderful. I would love to be driving up there one day if God permit. Yes it could become a tourist attraction because everybody would want to go there to experience the sensation of driving up in the sky, don’t you think so?
    I will and I will be proud to be there and showing off all the photos taken up above the fantastic view.
    Thank once again Paul.
    May God bless you for all your effort in sharing with us all this beautiful and interesting places in your blog.
    God bless you.

  3. Martin Chung

    It is incredible and truly an engineering feat. When I travel to France next, I must try to drive across this bridge for an experience. Keep up your good work Paul.

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