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France's A75 Millau Viaduct: A Stunning Bridge Across the Tarn Gorge
Actually, maybe because I have seen the Golden Gate bridge so many times, France's Millau Viaduct along its A75 four lane highway that connects north and south France, is much more stunning and artistic.
The Millau Viaduct bridge is another engineering marvel. After many years of motorists facing a travel bottleneck at Millau due to the Massif Central mountains that could last as long as five hours, in 2004, the viaduct was completed. This drastically reduced the former five hour delay to almost zero.
The bridge spans 1.5 miles across and 885 feet above the Tarn River Valley. Often low lying clouds are under the bridge. On approach, the driver sees a scene out of some futuristic movie with seven tall spires reaching for heaven. It is Europe's "Golden Gate" because it is the continent's highest highway at this point, it has the highest spires in the world. Motorists from Paris to France's south coast region are in for a real treat when reaching this part of the A75. The seven tall spires that support the road appear like blades of grass jetting upward to the sun and in the car, one feels like they are flying on this delicate looking bridge between two plateaus. The seven spires are painted white so that on some days, they appear to disappear into the white clouds.
The whole project began in 1993 when designs were submitted and construction began a few years later in 2001. since 2004, 37 million cars have crossed the artistically designed bridge.The cost of building it came 400 million euros and the project required about 127,000 cubic metres (166,000 cu yd) of concrete, 19,000 tonnes (21,000 short tons) of steel for the reinforced concrete and 5,000 tonnes (5,500 short tons) of pre-stressed steel for the cables and shrouds.