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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Millau Viaduct




            “Let’s go see a bridge together!” was Yves’ idea of a good time while Martha is away. So yesterday we drove 2 hours into the hills and valleys of mid-France to a town called Millau (“Me-o” as Yves pronounced it). We arrived beneath the third of seven pylons of this art-form bridge. Constructed from 2001-2004 it spans 2.4 km. It is the major East-West corridor for the French auto-route. Formerly, traffic clogged going down the mountain and through the town of Millau (taking up to 5 hours in some jams!)
            The bridge is bow-shaped horizontally so it arcs into the prevailing wind like a sail. It’s underside is shaped like a wing and louvered panels on the deck deflect wind to make it stable. The second pylon is the tallest bridge pylon in the world at 343 meters (multiple by about 3 for feet). The circumference of the pylons is that of a regulation tennis court.
            What amazed me is the elegant beauty of architecture and engineering. This was done right, saving money for transportation and crowding for a town. 


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