The Millau Viaduct (Aveyron) celebrates its 10 year anniversary
The Millau Viaduct (Aveyron) was inaugurated the 14th of December 2004, by Jacques Chirac, the then French President. Ten years after the opening of this exceptional work, the viaduct is still very much a success story. Each year, nearly 4.8 million vehicles pass through the tolls, 10% of which are trucks.
More than 46 million vehicles have crossed over the extraordinary structure since it was opened to traffic. And an estimated 50 million vehicles will have crossed over by the end of summer 2015, trucks accounting for approximately 10%.
One million visitors stop at the Millau Viaduct site every year, and the two public information centres (“viaduct museums”) welcome some 500,000 tourists per year.
To celebrate this anniversary, a special firework display has light up the sky over Millau on Sunday 14 December 2014 at 6pm. The event was organised by the Compagnie Eiffage du Viaduc de Millau, with the participation of the Town of Millau, the Communauté de Communes Millau Grands Causses and the Town of Creissels.
The Millau Viaduct, which required €400 million of investment, breaks all the records. It took three years of construction (2001-2004), the mobilisation of all the Eiffage divisions and the dedication of around 500 site workers at the height of the works, in order to complete the project.
The bridge, which is the most spectacular section of the A75 Clermont-Ferrand-Béziers motorway, is 343 metres high in parts and extends for 2,460 metres.
Designed by French engineer Michel Virlogeux and British architect Lord Norman Foster, the viaduct is made up of slim poles, sleek lines and a thin platform, and has only seven points of contact with the valley below, even though its construction required 85,000 m3 of concrete and 36,000 tons of structural steel.
The concession (78 years in total including three years of construction work and 75 years of operating) runs until 2079.
View of the fireworks. © Pixels, J. Holdrinet