Gorgeous Photos And Mind-Boggling Facts Behind The World’s Tallest Bridge

Published March 23, 2016
Updated November 7, 2023

What's more impressive about the Millau Viaduct, the world's tallest bridge? Its colossal size or the astounding engineering behind it?

Even as you’re traveling across it — let alone merely reading about it — it’s still probably quite difficult to appreciate the true scale of France’s Millau Viaduct, the world’s tallest bridge.

Perhaps the best we can do is reach for mind-boggling statistics: 200,000 tons of concrete used for each of the bridge’s seven piers; $524 million spent on planning and construction; 1,125 feet between the tallest mast and the base below (making it taller than the Eiffel Tower); 890 feet between the roadway and the ground — between you and certain death, should the bridge ever collapse.

But there’s little chance of that. The Millau Viaduct is, quite simply, an engineering marvel. Between December 14, 2001, when the first stone was laid, and December 16, 2004, when the bridge opened, huge construction teams executed one of the most impressive, daring designs ever dreamed up.

And this all happened under intense pressure. The builders had to finish within four years, or else the French government would fine them $30,000 dollars for each day they went over the deadline.

Clouds Viaduct Blue Sky

Night Lights Viaduct

Valley Wide Shot Viaduct

Sunlight Panorama
https://www.flickr.com/photos/localsurfer/15740608522/in/photolist-pYWJw7-cKZxxf-5fxZed-5fxZoL-dLDQvo-LQGtG-5aJasS-53AgoK-53Et8Q-52WngW-59HWJZ-pAMEFq-deBPD9-o5woym-5N4WGz-8taJDb-52WsfN-59HVZZ-52WpAb-8zz4Sx-59HRRc-4vJARY-59HPsB-59N2Mh-59N8V7-59N29A-59HSCT-59HTAR-5fxZsu-pCNjAY-kPCeQJ-7cha6Z-kPAgc6-kPChsY-kPAeT4-kPCcSf-7cm3Ts-kPCgUJ-kPAgAT-kPAZQa-kPCgsw-52PnjC-kPAcZ4-7chevT-4vJyEh-bmJM5M-aLPQfZ-kPAYX8-7cm2qU-8zCcs3

Of course, everything turned out just fine in the end — Millau Viaduct opened without a hitch, won the 2006 International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering Outstanding Structure Award, and has been serving between 10,000 and 25,000 vehicles per day (mostly, travelers along this popular route connecting France and Spain) ever since.


See more stunning bridges with this Peak Walk through the Swiss Alps and these breathtaking Golden Gate Bridge photos.

author
John Kuroski
author
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
editor
Savannah Cox
editor
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.
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Kuroski, John. "Gorgeous Photos And Mind-Boggling Facts Behind The World’s Tallest Bridge." AllThatsInteresting.com, March 23, 2016, https://allthatsinteresting.com/millau-viaduct. Accessed June 15, 2024.