For many decades, the Clermont-Ferrand – Montpellier road axis has been very busy. The construction of the Millau Viaduct in the Aveyron region of France has helped to ease traffic congestion in the town of Millau, which is completely saturated at certain times of the year. The Millau Viaduct crosses the Tarn valley and provides a link between the Causses Rouge and the Larzac plateau.Dailyclic presents the history of this viaduct, a true architectural feat, which has become an emblem of the department of Aveyron and Occitania.Millau, before the viaductWhether holidaymakers coming from the north of France to reach the Mediterranean coast, or southerners wishing to “climb” to Paris, the A75 was, and still is, one of the preferred routes. All the more so as the 340 kilometres of the A75 were completely free of charge before the viaduct was built, and traffic was very dense due to the presence of numerous commercial trucks providing the link with Spain. Before the viaduct was built, crossing Millau was a real ordeal. Before the construction of the viaduct, the crossing of Millau was a real ordeal. Before the construction of the viaduct, the crossing of Millau was a real ordeal. Hours of traffic jams, pollution, exasperation of the inhabitants of the town… Only local traders, restaurants and hotels still found it interesting to cross their town by this incessant flow of travellers… Nevertheless, the slowdown to cross Millau made them lose all the advantages of the A75. The A75 motorway, known as the land development motorway, had to eliminate this “black spot”. And that is what the Millau Viaduct was going to do.construction of the viaductThirteen years of studies and consultation! That’s how long it took to put the project together. Between the choice of the route, the choice of the type of construction and the various calls for tenders, the construction will only start at the beginning of the 2000s, and many local and ecological oppositions will arise during the 1990s. However, the viaduct project was declared of public utility in 1995. The construction was entrusted to the British architect, Lord Norman Foster, and the chief engineer of French bridges and viaducts, Michel Virlogeux. The type of construction chosen was that of a cable-stayed bridge. Below are some technical characteristics that demonstrate the span of the structure:Length: 2460mPiles: 7 with an individual weight of 650 tons to support the deckHeight of the highest pile: 343mWidth: 32mMain span: 342mMain span: 342mHeight under the deck: 270mWeight of the steel deck: 36,000 tons, i.e. 4 times that of the Eiffel Tower!In short, as you will have understood, these extraordinary dimensions have enabled it to set world records for several years. It should be noted that many difficulties were encountered due to the particular geology of the site. Nevertheless, three years after laying the first stone, the construction of the Viaduct was completed in 2004 at a cost of 400 million euros. The first vehicles will be driving on the viaduct in 2005, and the crossing is not free of charge. Depending on the class of vehicle and the time of year, it will cost between 4.50€ and 38€. For example, 11€ for a car in the summer and 30€ for a camper in the off-season.
See also: https://inspiredvox.com/aveyron-top-villages/
The Millau Viaduct, tourist attractionThis contemporary viaduct has enabled the development of industrial and commercial activities in the Aveyron region. A real craze was born around the viaduct, generating an undeniable tourist boom in the region. In 2017, the Millau Viaduct area was completely renovated to increase the attractiveness of the site. This area will allow you to discover the viaduct, as well as the local gastronomy, such as the “capucins” of the starred chef Michel Bras. You can access the viaduct area: By taking the A75 motorway, exit n° 45 “aire du Viaduc”, by the D911 and follow “aire du Viaduc”.Access is free before the toll exit n° 45 or from Millau on the D911.Also, a new belvedere has been built, offering a panoramic view of the viaduct and the valley.Moreover, you can discover the viaduct in another way thanks to the Viaduct Expo area. This space will offer you an amazing interactive museography. Note that the viaduct can also be seen in Peyre, one of the most beautiful villages of Aveyron and France. Finally, you will have the possibility to walk along the paths of the explorers (starting from the Viaduct area). And for the more sporty, canoeing, hiking, paragliding, hang-gliding, boating or quad biking are activities offered by tourism professionals in the area. The aim is to discover the giant in all its aspects and in different ways, whether on holiday in the Aveyron, or simply by car, don’t hesitate to stop and dive into the world of the Millau Viaduct! More articles in our Travel section.