The Millau Viaduct in France was 10 years old on 16th December 2014. It is a cable-stayed bridge that spans the valley of the River Tarn near Millau in southern France.
The top of one of the bridge’s pylons or towers is 343 metres above the base – making this the tallest bridge structure in the world and the tallest structure in France – even bigger than the Eiffel Tower. Its deck is 270 metres above the ground, making the deck the highest in Europe and the 12th highest in the world. If you have a pedometer, why not try walking 270 metres and imagining what it feels like to be that far above the ground!
There are seven pylons and each one carries twenty two cables (eleven on each side) which are attached to the steel deck. 85,000 cubic metres of concrete were used to construct the bridge. Picture a cube 1m high, 1m wide and 1m deep. Now The word viaduct comes from two Latin words – via which means “a way” and ducere which means “to lead”. The Romans didn’t use this word although they had the word aqueduct which means a bridge to carry water. Today the word viaduct is usually used to describe a bridge with lots of spans that carries a road or railway line.
The bridge cost €400 million to build. Car drivers have to pay between €7.30 and €9.10 every time they wish to cross.
The Millau Viaduct has its very own website. Why not visit to find out more about this amazing structure www.leviaducdemillau.com. Remember to click the button at the top which lets you see the site in English. The Photo Library section of the site has loads of fantastic photographs of the bridge
Lesson Plan 12 is all about Cable-stayed bridges and you can download a free copy from the lesson plans section of this website to find out more.