Millau Viaduct - what mankind can do on a good day!
Millau Travel Blog› entry 4 of 10 › view all entries
On the route from Paris to Barcelona Jacob only had one real request; I had to wake him when we crossed the marvellous bridge in Millau. I had been there a couple of times and it is truly amazing. I had also visited the area before the finalization of the construction.
The Millau Viaduct is located on the territory of the communes of Millau and Creissels, France, in the département of Aveyron. Before the bridge was constructed, traffic had to descend into the Tarn River valley and pass along the route nationale N9 near the town of Millau, causing heavy congestion at the beginning and end of the July and August vacation season. The bridge now traverses the Tarn valley above its lowest point, linking two limestone plateaux, the Causse du Larzac and the Causse Rouge, and is inside the perimeter of the Grands Causses regional natural park.
The bridge forms the last link of the A75 (la Méridienne) from Clermont-Ferrand to Pézenas and to be extended to Béziers by 2010, which I can’t go fast enough; we were stuck there for more than 40 minutes due to the fact that many tourists heading to southern France and Spain follows this route, because it is direct and without tolls for the 340 kilometres between Clermont-Ferrand and Pézenas, except for the bridge itself.
The Eiffage group, which constructed the viaduct, also operates it, under a government contract which allows the company to collect tolls for up to 75 years. The toll bridge costs €5.60 for light automobiles.
The bridge’s construction broke three world records:
1. The highest pylons in the world: pylons P2 and P3, 244.96 meters and 221.05 meters in height.
2. The highest mast in the world: the mast atop pylon P2 peaks at 343 meters.
3. The highest road bridge deck in the world, 270 m above the Tarn River at its highest point, which is nearly twice as tall as the previous tallest vehicular bridge in Europe, the Europabrücke in Austria.
We were lucky when we passed and Jacob was awake because the weather was clear and it looked like a piece of art in the middle of the landscape. The bridge is totally awesome.