Viaduc de Millau

Discover the marvel that is Viaduc de Millau in this comprehensive exploration of its engineering, history, and cultural impact. This magnificent cable-stayed bridge, an extraordinary example of contemporary construction and design, truly is a testament to human ingenuity. Delve into the specifics of its planning, challenges faced during its creation, and the pivotal role of acclaimed architect Norman Foster. Further, understand the structural length of Viaduc de Millau and how it contributes to its uniqueness. A phenomenal feat of engineering, the Viaduc de Millau, nestled in the heart of France, stands as an embodiment of architectural excellence and engineering prowess.

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Table of contents

    Understanding Viaduc de Millau: An Introduction

    You've probably seen images of the Viaduc de Millau, or Millau Viaduct. Hailed as one of the greatest engineering achievements of all time, this stunning cable-stayed bridge in southern France is more than merely a way to cross a valley; it's a testament to human creativity, perseverance, and technical prowess. Aptly deemed ‘the bridge that is also a sculpture’, it's a reflection of astonishing engineering principles that you're about to explore. Let's start with a bit of an explanation.

    What is Viaduc de Millau?

    At its most basic, the Viaduc de Millau is a bridge - but not just any bridge. Officially opened on 14th December 2004, the Millau Viaduct is the tallest bridge in the world with one mast's summit at 343 metres above the base of the structure. It stretches 2,460 metres across the Tarn River Valley, offering an effortless blend of architectural elegance and world-class engineering.

    It's a cable-stayed bridge, a design that employs towers or pylons from which cables offer support to the bridge deck. In the case of the Millau Viaduct, there are seven concrete pylons, with cables supporting the road deck directly below.

    Numerous crucial factors were considered and managed to achieve this rank. Let's go through some of the most significant ones:

    • The high wind speeds in the valley
    • The minimal disturbance to the environment
    • The visual impact of the bridge

    Significance of Viaduc de Millau in Engineering

    The Viaduc de Millau isn’t just a marvel because of its size and grace; it's also a remarkable feat of engineering. The careful materials selection, the innovative construction methods, the thoughtful design that made the most of the surrounding environment all come together to make this landmark a unique study material for engineering.

    In terms of structural engineering, the Viaduc de Millau demonstrates a superb blend of aesthetics and function. It illustrates how form and function can be masterly intertwined in a design to create a structure that's not only serviceable and efficient, but also beautifully captivating.

    The design and construction stages are also a study in project sequencing and logistics. Because of the unsuitable terrain and limited space on the gorge's slopes, the viaduct pieces were built off-site and then transported for assembly, a feat that required precision, planning, and the successful integration of various engineering disciplines.

    From another perspective, civil engineers celebrated this audacious construction as a brilliant example of advanced bridge-building techniques, namely the method used to place the enormous steel deck and pylons.

    They adopted an ingenious method to install the steel deck: the pieces were constructed at each end of the bridge and then gradually pushed out over the pylons. This 'incremental launching' technique meant that there was no need for expensive and ecologically damaging scaffolding in the valley below.

    The Millau Viaduct serves as both a testament to human inventiveness and an inspiration for future engineering efforts. At its heart, the Viaduc de Millau is a symbol of what can be accomplished when creativity, innovation, and technological expertise intersect.

    Delving into the Viaduc de Millau History

    Understanding the history of the Viaduc de Millau provides a unique insight into the rich tapestry of challenges, innovations, and triumphs that encompassed its creation story. Let's step back in time, retracing the viaduct's journey from conception to completion.

    Early Conception and Planning

    At the heart of the Millau Viaduct's inception lies a pressing need to alleviate traffic in the Tarn river valley, caused by holiday travel during the peak summer season. In 1987, the French government initiated exploration task to find a solution to this emerging problem, leading to discussions about a high crossing over the Tarn river. The intriguing idea of a high-level bridge, initially just a fleeting concept, gradually took shape with careful deliberation and comprehensive feasibility studies.

    Feasibility studies refer to the examination of the practicability of a proposed plan or method. In the context of civil engineering, it’s an important analysis step integrating various aspects such as environmental impact, cost, architectural design, and risk analysis, thereby confirming the viability of the construction project.

    Multiple bridge designs were proposed by various architectural and engineering companies. Yet, the innovative and aesthetically appealing design proposed by British architect Sir Norman Foster and French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux won the French government's approval.

    This winning design was a cable-stayed bridge featuring a multi-span deck suspended from seven pylons. Critically, this design minimised the bridge's impact on the valley underneath – a vital design demand to preserve the area's natural beauty.

    Important Historical Milestones

    Over the course of its construction, the Viaduc de Millau hit a series of important milestones, each playing a critical role in shaping the awe-inspiring structure we marvel at today. These milestones, which paved the path from planning to the finished structure are:

    • 1991: French government gives approval for the project
    • 1993 to 1998: Detailed architectural and engineering plans devised
    • 1998: Contract awarded to Eiffage, the same company that constructed the Eiffel Tower
    • 2001 to 2004: Active construction phase
    • 14th December 2004: Official inauguration

    Detailed architectural and engineering plans were mapped out from 1993 to 1998, during which time every potential obstacle - from high wind speeds to the terrain of the valley - was plotted and strategised. The contract for construction was subsequently awarded to the French company Eiffage - ironically the same company that had built the Eiffel Tower over a century earlier.

    One of the fascinating aspects about this construction contract was that it allowed Eiffage to recoup its investment by collecting tolls from the bridge’s traffic for 75 years following its completion. This innovative financing arrangement came in handy to fund this massive project, with the total construction costs amounting to approximately €394 million.

    The viaduct was officially inaugurated on 14th December 2004, and the French President Jacques Chirac presided over the grand ceremony. Opened for public a day later, it was a momentous occasion, marking the culmination of decades of planning and hard work by countless individuals.

    Each of these milestones bore their own risks and rewards, challenges and triumphs. But through each step of the process, the Viaduc de Millau gradually emerged, a true testament to engineering skill and ingenuity, a remarkable addition to France's rich architectural landscape.

    Location Analysis: Viaduc de Millau France

    When examining the significance of the Viaduc de Millau, understanding its location is crucial. Nestled in southern France, the magnificent Viaduc de Millau stretches its vast wings above the picturesque Tarn River Valley, servicing as a crucial link in the transport networks while respecting the integrity of the surrounding natural landscape.

    The Geographical Significance of Viaduc de Millau

    To fully understand the geographical significance of the Viaduc de Millau, it's important to take a close look at the structure within its geographical context. Constructed above the Tarn River, a 380-kilometre-long river in southern France, its significance lies in bridging a major gap in the A75 auto route that connects Paris to Perpignan. Until its inception, this route was interrupted by the valley of the Tarn, causing severe traffic congestion during peak travelling seasons.

    The A75 autoroute is a motorway in France. Known as la Méridienne, it is a developmental project with the aim of speeding up and reducing the cost of car travel from Paris to the Mediterranean coast and on to Spain.

    The bridge's location was carefully chosen, taking account of the region's topographical constraints, such as regional wind patterns and the gorge's steep sides. The point where the viaduct crosses the Tarn was determined by the contour of the valley - it's one of the few places where the sides of the valley are almost parallel, providing a better base for the pylons.

    Each pylon foundation is located on the flat surface of the valley's sides, providing optimum base strength. The positioning of the pylons was done in such a way so as to take firm advantage of the rock type. Pilings, ranging from 10 to 15 metres deep, were sunk into the rock to provide proper anchors to bear the weight and minimise the risk of landslides.

    A common engineering formula to consider while laying such foundations is the one for bearing capacity:

    \[ q_{max} = c'N_c + \frac{P'}{A} + 0.5\gamma BN_\gamma \]

    where \( q_{max} \) is the maximum bearing pressure which the soil can resist, \( c' \) is the effective cohesion, \( N_c \) is the bearing capacity factor, \( P' \) is the total overburden pressure at the footing base, \( A \) is the footing area, \( \gamma \) is the effective weight of the soil, \( B \) is the footing width, and \( N_\gamma \) is another bearing capacity factor.

    The Cultural Impact on the Region

    Just as the Viaduc de Millau holds considerable geographical significance, it has also had a profound cultural impact on the region. Upon its completion, it brought about a significant boost in tourism and local economy, attracting numerous curious visitors who wished to marvel at this feat of engineering.

    Interestingly, despite its modern aesthetic and design, the Viaduc de Millau managed to blend effortlessly into the cultural fabric of the region. Its design follows a respect for the natural environment, minimising obstruction to the landscape and preserving local aesthetics. Furthermore, elements of local cultural significance were incorporated within the design, promoting local identity. For instance, the pier shape, reminiscent of the shape of a sail, is a nod to the region's rich maritime history.

    While the Viaduc de Millau has chief practical implications of providing a necessary transport route, it has also given the local population an emblem of pride, establishing a cultural symbol that succinctly encapsulates the region's harmonious blend of traditional life and progressive vision.

    Finally, the introduction of the Viaduc de Millau brought considerable economic benefit to the region. Besides attracting tourists, its establishment created numerous job opportunities during its construction and continues to do so through its operations and maintenance. This not only benefit the local economy but also played a part in retaining the local population, preventing urban migration and thereby preserving the culture of the area.

    The viaduct also serves as a platform for cultural events such as races, marathons, and exhibitions - all of which contribute to community bonding and the celebration of local culture. A fine example being the annual race ‘Course Eiffage du Viaduc de Millau en Aveyron’, where participants get to cross the monumental bridge on foot.

    Unravelling Remarkable Viaduc de Millau Facts

    You might have seen the Viaduc de Millau, the stunning cable-stayed bridge majestically gracing the landscape in southern France. Yet this marvellous feat of engineering and design holds a cache of fascinating facts that only enhances its iconic status. Come, let's unravel these intriguing details that stand as a testament to human ingenuity and determination.

    Key Engineering Facts About Viaduc de Millau

    Cable-stayed bridges are structure types where the bridge deck (the transporting surface) is hung from cables that run directly from the towers. The weight of the deck and any load on it are supported by the cables and towers which transmit the forces onto the ground.

    The Viaduc de Millau is a cable-stayed bridge spanning the valley of the Tarn River in southern France. As a critical linchpin in the Paris–Béziers–Montpellier route, the viaduct's most distinctive feature is its innovative multiview cable-stayed design, where the roadway is suspended by cables connected to seven pylons.

    • The Viaduc de Millau is not just remarkable but also record-breaking – it is the tallest bridge in the world with one of its masts soaring to a height of 343 metres, which is higher than the Eiffel Tower.
    • With a total length of 2460 meters, and consisting of 204 panels weighing 60,000 tonnes in total, it's an impressive structure.
    • The design and construction of the bridge included preventive measures against wind-induced vibrations, a crucial factor considering it was constructed in an area known for its harsh winds. The lead designer Michel Virlogeux used an engineering formula known as the Scruton number to provide critical insights to develop these measures:
    • \[ S = \frac{2m\zeta}{\rho D d} \]

      Where: \( S \) is the Scruton number, \( m \) is mass per unit length of the structure, \( \zeta \) is structural damping factor, \( \rho \) is the air density, \( D \) is the structure's characteristic width, and \( d \) is a measure of its sharpness.

    • The foundations of the bridge go up to depths of 15 metres into the ground, ensuring a sturdy and safe construction capable of withstanding natural forces and heavy traffic.

    In addition to its ingenious design features, the construction techniques utilised were also groundbreaking for the time. Rather than constructing from both ends, the deck was assembled on land at the ends of the viaduct, then rolled lengthwise from one pylon to the next, using a system of hydraulic rams. This technique not only reduced construct difficulties associated with the valley's steep sides but also had less environmental impact.

    Viaduc de Millau - Recognition and Achievements

    Given its remarkable engineering and design, the Viaduc de Millau has garnered significant recognition and numerous accolades since its unveiling.

    The prestigious International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE) awarded the bridge the Outstanding Structure Award in 2006, recognising its "aesthetically pleasing appearance combined with a unique structural design perspective”. The award also acknowledged the execution of the construction, which involved innovative and technically advanced methods.

    The Outstanding Structure Award is one of the industry's most distinguished recognitions presented by the IABSE. It is awarded annually to the most remarkable, innovative, creative, or otherwise stimulating structure completed within the last few years.

    Praised for "extraordinary and monumental aesthetics", the bridge was also lauded for "perfect transparency and harmony with the environment". It's noteworthy how the Viaduc de Millau, despite its monumental structure, seamlessly blends with its surroundings - a commendable triumph of design and a fitting tribute to environmental respect.

    The viaduct was also celebrated in a 2005 Royal Academy of Engineering's Major Project Award for the "elegant engineering solution of the highest quality" that it represented. Plus, its environmental features were highly commended in the British Construction Industry's annual awards.

    More than select awards, the Viaduc de Millau's true recognition comes from the crucial role it plays in transport, the ease it brings to travellers' lives, and the notable boost it delivers to the local economy. Its monumental achievement lies in being a harmonious blend of functionality, design, and respect for the environment - a balance many modern structures strive to attain.

    Insight Into Viaduc de Millau's Construction Process

    The construction process behind the staggering Viaduc de Millau is testament to the boundless possibilities of human engineering and innovation. Let's delve into the process, highlighting the design and planning stages, as well as the challenges faced and how they were ingeniously overcome.

    Design and Planning of The Viaduc de Millau

    Designing and planning the Viaduc de Millau was an enormous endeavour encompassing a plethora of complexities, given its scale and unique constraints. Housed in the rugged landscape of Millau town in southern France, the setting posed significant geographical and environmental challenges that dictated a design process steeped in innovation and precision planning.

    The bridge's design, led by French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux and British architect Norman Foster, was influenced by the area's topographical constraints. It is a multi-span cable-stayed structure, an intricate design notable for its elegance and functionality. Essentially, the design employs several piers scattered wisely along the length of the viaduct from which the deck is suspended using stays. This spread-out distribution of load ensured that the tall piers could withstand the heavy traffic and natural occurrences such as strong winds.

    A multi-span cable-stayed bridge: It's a modern variation of the age-old suspension bridge system where the deck (the load-bearing portion) is supported by a series of cables running directly to one or more vertical pylons.

    The pylons' height was determined by the elevation necessary to cross the valley and the river flowing beneath. As a result, one of the piers, P2, is 244.96 meters high, making it the tallest bridge construction worldwide. Further, the piers are shaped like an inverted "Y", providing stability and effectively managing the wind force along the valley.

    The deck's profile is aerodynamic, with edges intentionally made strident against crosswinds. To limit vibration from traffic and wind, the deck is quite stiff and was coupled with tuned mass dampers for added damping. To calculate the damping needed, engineers applied the modal damping formula:

    \[ m(\omega_n) = 2 \pi d(\omega_n) \]

    Where \( m(\omega_n) \) is the modal mass and \( d(\omega_n) \) is the modal damping.

    During the planning phase, environmental considerations were suspended at the forefront, seeking to minimise the bridge's footfall and impact on flora and fauna. This repressive approach was then taken further through the streamlined construction process where large components were assembled and slid into position on PTFE bearings, reducing the noise and disruption to the environment.

    Challenges Faced in Viaduc de Millau's Construction

    The construction of the Viaduc de Millau was anticipated to bring several challenges, owing to its ambitious design, its length, height, and the unique topography of the region. Amidst these challenges, some were particularly noteworthy.

    Perhaps the most critical challenge lay in the geological variability of the location. The strata of rock and soil where the bridge's massive piers had to be planted varied considerably even across short distances, which could have led to instability. To overcome this, detailed geological surveys were undertaken. Based on these, engineers decided to secure the bridge's piers deep into the bedrock, using large concrete piles. This way, the risk of landslides was mitigated.

    • Each of the bridge's seven piers stands on a group of 4-6 piles, with each pile reaching depths of up to 15 meters. The piles were drilled into the rock, and high-strength concrete was poured into them, creating robust load-bearing points.
    • To confirm that these piles provided a secure and stable base, engineers used sonic echo testing.

    Another significant challenge was dealing with high winds due to the bridge’s location on the River Tarn’s valley, notorious for its strong gusts. To account for this, the bridge was designed to be smooth and aerodynamic, reducing the force applied to the structure by wind. Additionally, the spacing and design of the pylons were optimised to allow the wind to flow through them rather than push against them.

    The area's topographical constraints made the assembly of such a large bridge deck, with a total length of 2460 metres, challenging. To execute this, a unique method referred to as the incremental launching technique was used. Pre-fabricated sections of the deck were systematically pushed forward onto the piers using hydraulic jacks, reducing the need for large-scale work at great heights.

    The incremental launching technique: It is a method of bridge construction, which involves assembling sections of the bridge behind one abutment and then gradually pushing them out onto the piers.

    Despite the numerous challenges faced during the construction of the Viaduc de Millau, the adept foresight in planning and ingenious engineering solutions made it possible to realise this iconic marvel. Its construction stands as a testament to the power of persevering through daunting obstacles with creativity, precision, and a keen eye on sustainability.

    The Role of Norman Foster in Viaduc de Millau

    In the creation of Viaduc de Millau, Norman Foster fulfilled a distinct, indispensable role as the architectural spearhead, contributing to the bridge's flair of elegance and functionality that we see today. Let's delve deeper into his significant input.

    Norman Foster's Architectural Influence on Viaduc de Millau

    Renowned British architect, Lord Norman Foster, brought a unique fusion of technological excellence and innovative design to the Viaduc de Millau. His architectural eye and ethos turned the viaduct from a mere functional construction into an iconic monument of contemporary civil engineering.

    Foster’s impression is visibly traced in the viaduct's sleek, aerodynamic profile. This feature, far from being purely aesthetic, plays an essential role in mitigating the effect of wind forces on the bridge. It also displays Foster’s characteristic fusion of beauty and functionality, a concept he adroitly calls the 'art of engineering' which informs his work.

    The 'art of engineering': It's an architectural philosophy that Norman Foster pursues, characterised by the seamless merging of elegant design and functional engineering solutions.

    Foster also introduced the inverted "Y" shape design for the piers, a highlight of the viaduct's appearance and a key functional component. The innovative shape of the piers aids in dispersing the structural load and minimising the effect of wind forces. This efficient and elegant design clearly echoes Foster's affinity for crisp lines and minimalist forms.

    Combined with his innovative ideas, Foster's environmental sensitivity is also evident in the design process. The bridge was ergonomically planned to minimise its footprint and its impact on the local ecology and environment. Additionally, the decision to construct large modular pieces offsite and then assemble them on location also reduced construction noise and disturbance, endorsing his environmental stewardship.

    In summary, whilst serving the demands of unprecedented scale and difficult terrain, Foster was able to align elegance with function, minimalism with stability, and innovation with environmental responsibility, marking his indelible architectural influence on the Viaduc de Millau.

    Collaboration and Structural Works by Norman Foster

    Norman Foster's architecture does not exist in a vacuum. Each of his projects is a result of collaborative work, wherein his vision meshes with the skills and knowledge of a range of other professionals. His contribution to the Viaduc de Millau is no exception.

    Foster worked in close collaboration with eminent French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux on the project. This synergistic partnership allowed for the reconciliation of architectural aesthetics with structural integrity and feasibility, ensuring the creation of a bridge that is both a marvel of engineering and a sculptural work of art.

    A remarkable illustration of this collaboration can be seen in the transitional piers of the viaduct. Both Foster and Virlogeux understood the need for robust yet streamlined vertical components to facilitate the bridge deck's elevation. Foster's contribution was yielding an elegant, 'split' design forming an inverted 'Y', while Virlogeux focused on the required height and the necessary structural analysis. This resulted in a coherent form that managed to cleverly disguise its massive structure.

    On other aspects of structural work, Foster and his team of architects provided experiential insights, adding valuable advice on visual appeal and contextual suitability. They harmonised structural considerations with their architectural vision, always aware of the bridge's impact on the viewer and the surrounding landscape.

    An example of this is the addition of a series of delicate stays connecting the deck to the piers. Foster’s team made sure these stays enhanced the bridge's visual lightness and grace, while Virlogeux ensured their efficient weight distribution and stability. This blend of architectural finesse and structural calculation marks the functional and aesthetic success of the Viaduc de Millau.

    Norman Foster's understated architectural style, coupled with careful attention to environmental harmony and a convincing respect for structural fidelity, has ensured the Viaduc de Millau is not merely a piece of infrastructure, but a significant marker of human achievement. This success reaffirms the indispensable value of collaborative work in engineering megastructures, blending beauty with functionality, and art with science.

    Measuring the Viaduc de Millau: The Study of Length

    Delving into the understanding of the impressive dimensions of the Viaduc de Millau provides an extraordinary insight into the scale of its grandeur. This incredible bridge, with its enormity and expanse, sets some remarkable world records, justifying the attention it consistently receives from engineers, architects and admirers worldwide.

    Understanding Viaduc de Millau's Structural Length

    When scrutinising the physical features of the Viaduc de Millau, its total length is a major talking point. Spanning over the Tarn River valley, the viaduct measures an impressive 2460 metres in length. But what does this length entail and why is it significant?

    The total length of a bridge is the linear distance between its starting point and ending point. For the Viaduc de Millau, this translates into an incredible stretch that links the regions of Causse Rouge and Causse du Larzac in southern France. To further understand this staggering measurement, consider that it is approximately equivalent to \( 24 \) football fields placed end-to-end!

    Length: In structural context, length is the longest dimension of an object, the greatest distance from one end to the other.

    How is this massive length achieved? It's the sum of several specific elements: the seven piers, the eight spans between these piers and the landing decks at the extremities.

    Using a simple formula:

    \[ \text{{Total length}} = \sum (\text{{Length of all spans}}) + \sum (\text{{Length of all piers}}) + \text{{Length of crossing decks}} \]

    A vast length like this has myriad engineering implications, from durability to stability. It imposes enormous challenges, especially considering the valley's uneven topography and strong wind considerations. Yet, the bridge stays resilient, thanks to Foster and Virlogeux's innovative design solutions, which we discussed earlier.

    How Viaduc de Millau's Length Contributes to its Uniqueness

    The sheer extent of the Viaduc de Millau is what sets it apart from most bridges worldwide. However, the true uniqueness of this structure lies not just within the physical length, but how this length marries an exquisite design with robust engineering.

    Within the length of this bridge lies a masterful combination of elegance and durability. With every metre travelled upon its expanse, one can witness a perfect balance between architectural beauty and engineering robustness. This equilibrium, arguably, is what characterises the successful monumental achievement of the Viaduc de Millau.

    Moreover, the sweeping length gives way to another unique phenomenon – the perception of driveability. It creates a scenic route offering spectacular panoramic views, often described as 'a road in the sky'. This has turned the Viaduc de Millau into a popular tourist attraction, resonating with Norman Foster’s vision of creating more than just a pathway, but a veritable architectural experience.

    With unparalleled dimensions contributing to its uniqueness, the Viaduc de Millau is truly a testament to the wonder of modern engineering and human architectural prowess. Its length not just illustrates an extraordinary engineering feat but also reveals how bridging a lengthy geographical gap can unify, inspire and bring closer entire communities.

    So, understanding the length of Viaduc de Millau goes beyond the physical dimensions; it embraces an appreciation of the vision, innovation and collaborative genius that have gone into its creation. That's the true distinguisher of Millau's breathtakingly long expanse.

    Viaduc de Millau - Key takeaways

    • The Viaduc de Millau is a cable-stayed bridge that spans the Tarn River valley in southern France. It serves as a critical link in the Paris–Béziers–Montpellier route.
    • The viaduct holds the record for being the world's tallest bridge, with one of its masts soaring to a height of 343 meters, surpassing the Eiffel Tower.
    • The bridge was designed by French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux and British architect Norman Foster. Its unique multi-span cable-stayed structure was influenced by the area's topographical constraints, wind patterns, and the need for a design that supports heavy traffic and withstands natural forces.
    • To ensure stability and safety, the bridge's piers are anchored deeply into the bedrock with concrete piles that reach up to 15 meters deep.
    • Along with its architectural significance, the Viaduc de Millau has had a considerable cultural and economic impact on the region, fostering boost in tourism, creation of job opportunities, and serving as a platform for cultural events.
    Viaduc de Millau Viaduc de Millau
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    Frequently Asked Questions about Viaduc de Millau
    What is Viaduc de Millau? Write in UK English.
    The Viaduc de Millau is a cable-stayed bridge that spans the Tarn valley in southern France. It's renowned as one of the world's tallest bridges, reaching 343 metres at its highest point. The bridge was designed by architect Norman Foster and structural engineer Michel Virlogeux.
    How long is the Viaduc de Millau?
    The Viaduc de Millau is 2,460 metres long.
    Who built the Viaduc de Millau?
    The Viaduc de Millau was built by the French structural engineering company Eiffage, under the architectural design of Norman Foster.
    Where is the Viaduc de Millau?
    The Viaduc de Millau is located in southern France, spanning the valley of the River Tarn near Millau in the Aveyron department.
    When was the Viaduc de Millau built?
    The construction of the Viaduc de Millau began in 2001 and it was officially opened to traffic on 16th December 2004.

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