For years before the Millau Viaduct opened for traffic in late 2004, teams were working on the idea of completing the missing link on the A75 autoroute that connects Paris in the north to Perpignan in the south. The first sketches were made in 1987, with each proposing a bridge that spanned the Tarn Valley, though some had the crossing east of Millau, while others had it to the west.
In 1994, the decision was made to locate the bridge just a few kilometers west of Millau. And in 1996, the bridge design by Michel Virlogeux of Ponts et Chaussees and architecture by Norman Foster was selected. According to the official Millau Viaduct Web site, "A multi-stay cabled construction will be seen on the Aveyron skyline. Its aesthetic aspect and integration into the countryside attracted the government departments. It took preference over four other potential projects: a bridge of constant thickness, a variable thickness bridge, a viaduct with stays stretched under the deck, and a construction with one single arch."
In December 2001, the first stone for the Millau Viaduct was laid.
In this photograph, the bridge is seen from just in front and to the east.
July 19, 2011 4:00 AM PDT
Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET
| Caption by: Daniel Terdiman
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