December 30, 2009 , Posted by byu at 6:19 AM
The Millau Viaduct (French: le Viaduc de Millau) is a cable stayed road bridge that spans the valley of the River Tarn near Millau in southern France. It was formally opened on 14 December 2004 and opened to traffic on 16 December 2004. Designed by British master-architect Lord Foster in collaboration with French bridge engineer Michel Virlogeux, it is the tallest vehicular bridge in the world, with one piers summit at 1,118 ft (341 metres), slightly higher than the Eiffel Tower and only 132 ft (40 m) shorter than the Empire State Building.
The Millau Viaduct consists of an eight-span steel roadway supported by seven concrete piers. The roadway weighs 36,000 metric tons and is 2,460 m (8,071 ft) long, measuring 32 m (105 ft) wide by 4.2 m (13.8 ft) deep. The six central spans each measure 342 m (1,122 ft) with the two outer spans measuring 204 m (670 ft). The roadway has a slight slope of 3% descending from south to north, and curves in plan section on a 20 km (12.4 mile) radius to give drivers better visibility. It carries two lanes of traffic in each direction.
This Cable-Stayed Bridge Project is on schedule to be completed January 2005. (39 month construction contract). This project is being financed privately. This project has the highest bridge piers in world. Thus the title of the Highest Bridge in the World. The tallest will be 240 meters high. Overall height an outstanding 336.4 meters. This project will consist of seven separate cable-stays.
Bridges are often considered to belong to the engineer's realm rather than the architect's. But the architecture of infrastructure has a powerful impact on the environment. The Millau Viaduct, designed in collaboration with engineers, illustrates how the architect can play an integral role in bridge design.
Located in southern France, the bridge will connect the motorway from Paris to Barcelona at the point where it is interrupted by the River Tarn, which runs through a wide gorge between two plateaus. A reading of the topography suggested two possible approaches: to cross the river, the geological generator of the landscape; or there was the challenge of spanning the 2.5 kilometers from one plateau to the other in the most economical manner.
The structural solution follows from the latter philosophical standpoint. The bridge has the optimum span between cable-stayed columns. It is delicate, transparent, and uses the minimum material, which makes it less costly to construct. Each of its sections spans 350 meters and its columns range in height from 75 meters to 235 meters - higher than the Eiffel Tower - with the masts rising a further 90 meters above the road deck. To accommodate the expansion and contraction of the concrete deck, each column splits into two thinner, more flexible columns below the roadway, forming an A-frame above deck level. This structure creates a dramatic silhouette - and crucially it makes the minimum intervention in the landscape.
Construction Date: 2001
Completion Date: 2005
Statistics: Length: 2.5 km
Height: 280 m
(Above information provided by Foster and Partners)
Architectural Design: Foster and Partners
Design Concept: SETRA
Structural Engineering: EEG Simecsol and Greisch
Contractor: Eiffage Construction
Co-Contractor: Eiffel Construction
Fabricator: Freyssinet (stay cables)
Formwork: PERI Formwork and Scaffolding