The Viaduc de Millau bridge in Southern France, the world's tallest cable-stayed bridge in the world, is nearing completion ahead of its December 17th opening.
The bridge was designed by the English architect, Lord Norman Foster.
It is being built by Eiffage, the same company responsible for building the Eiffel Tower.
Over 500 construction workers have contributed to its completion.
Those who travel the 1.5 mile span will drive 885 feet above land.
The Viaduct's Length, Height, Width & Weight
87 meters (approximately 287 feet): Height of the pylons
2,460 meters: Total length of the deck 7 Number of pillars
77 meters: Shortest pillar
240 meters: Highest pillar
154 : Number of stays
4.20 meters : Thickness of the deck
32.05 meters : Width of the deck
85,000 m3 : Total volume of concrete
36,000 tons : Weight of the metal structure
The initial goal: To get rid of the Millau traffic bottleneck.
The result: It will tackle the Millau bottleneck, create an alternative, fast route to the Cote d'Azur, and add tremendous man-made beauty to the countryside that many call a work of art.
Once opened, the bridge, via the A75 motorway, will enable Clermont-Ferrand to be reached directly from Beziers.
The motorway connects the Cote d'Azur directly with Paris. It connects Paris and Barcelona, Spain and passes through Languedoc.
Construction officially began on December 14, 2001. It was expected to take 39 months to complete.
The company set a deadline for itself to build the bridge in three years, and they are coming in ahead of schedule.
Toll bridge receipts will enable the company to recover the $300 million cost to build the Millau Bridge.
Because the bridge has become a tourist attraction already, they may end up ahead of schedule on this goal, as well.
The Franco-English bridge may also be a future destination for Virgin's Rebel Billionaire adventurer, Richard Branson. On Sunday, June 27th of this year, Austrian Felix Baumgartner, known for his Channel crossing in 2003, already has. In the middle of the night, the 34-year-old skydiver climbed a 230-meter-high column unsecured and jumped from the highest bridge in the world.
The bridge will be inaugurated by President Jacques Chirac on December 14.
December 17th is the day they expect to open the magnificent Millau Bridge to public traffic.
It is expected to cost approximately 8 euros to cross.
For further information on its construction, please go to:
For French-speaking people interested in the community of Millau and what other publishers are saying in France, go to:
Congratulations to all of France, and all of the Francophiles, who look forward to seeing more than pictures of this extraordinary creation. Let's hope it will serve as another reason to draw Americans closer to the French again.
Inspire & Be Inspired (R).
Here's to healthy, adventuresome, soulful, "bridge building" living!
~ Jennifer Carolyn King