2004: The Formal Debut of the World’s Tallest Bridge

December 14, 2004

The Millau Viaduct in southern France was officially opened three years after construction on it had begun. This cable-stayed bridge is located near the commune of Millau. The 8,070-foot (2,460-meter)-long Millau Viaduct carries four lanes of the A75 autoroute (motorway) across the gorge valley of a section of the river Tarn.

One of the Millau Viaduct’s most notable claims to fame is its structural height, i.e., the maximum vertical distance between the uppermost segment of a bridge and the lowermost exposed part of that bridge. With a structural height of 1,104 feet (336.4 meters), the Millau Viaduct holds the record for the tallest bridge in the world.

This structure ranks only 26th on the list of the world’s highest bridges, however. The bridges in this category are measured by deck height (the maximum vertical distance from the bridge deck to the ground or water surface below a bridge’s span); the Millau Viaduct has a deck height of 890 feet (270 meters) above the gorge valley where it was built.

The design team for the Millau Viaduct was led by Michel Virlogeux, a French bridge specialist and structural engineer; and Norman Foster, an English designer and architect. This bridge has earned worldwide acclaim for its design. In 2006, for example, the Millau Viaduct received the Outstanding Structure Award from the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering.

Photo Credit: Public Domain

For more information on the Millau Viaduct, please check out https://structurae.net/en/structures/millau-viaduct

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