On Tuesday we had a marathon day out to go and see the viaduct at Millau. I've been wanting to do this for ages and at last we had the chance. This viaduct is a road bridge which forms part of the A 75 motorway but it is not just any old bridge oh dear me no. Designed by the French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux and British architect Norman Foster, it is the tallest bridge in the world, with one mast's summit at 343.0 metres (1,125 ft). It opened in December 2004 and you can see it by linking to the webcam http://www.leviaducdemillau.com/english/webcam.html
It costs €7.90 to cross and it is well known for being super busy during the holiday season. Last weekend was one of the busiest in the French calendar as everyone began to go home and they calculated that about 60,000 cars crossed it last Saturday alone.
I'm not big on numbers but here are some fairly staggering statistics:
2,460 m (8,071 ft): total length of the roadway.
7: number of piers
77 m (253 ft): height of Pier 7, the shortest
343 m (1,125 ft): height of Pier 2, the tallest (245 m/804 ft at the roadway's level)
87 m (285 ft): height of a mast
154: number of shrouds
270 m (886 ft): average height of the roadway
4.20 m (13 ft 9 in): thickness of the roadway
32.05 m (105 ft 2 in): width of the roadway
85,000 m3 (111,000 cu yd): total volume of concrete used
290,000 metric tons (320,000 short tons): total weight of the bridge
10,000–25,000 vehicles: estimated daily traffic
20 km (12 mi): horizontal radius of curvature of the road deck
It all makes for a huge impression on the viewer. We not only went over it but also under it by road and then, very excitingly by boat on the river Tarn thanks to Les Bateliers Du Viaduct. Add to that a picnic lunch under a convenient tree, with a good view of the viaduct and the presence of a friendly and hopeful local dog and you have the makings of a spiffing day out which is exactly what we had. I'm going to post pictures separately so please move onto the following post.