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The Millau Viaduct in France is the tallest multi-span cable-stayed road in the world, reaching 343 meters tall and 2460 meters long. This brilliant engineering feat is distinguished by towers that stand 1,125 feet tall, almost as tall as the Empire State Building. The Millau Viaduct, which took a record three years to complete, was designed by French engineer Michael Virlogeux in conjunction with Sir Norman Foster. The bridge was built to connect Paris with Barcelona, relieving traffic congestion on Millau's roadways during the summer. One of the most interesting techniques used in the structure is the construction of roads on both sides of the bridge towers and after that rolled out to the middle, a process that is different from the usual installation in sections. By the completion of the bridge, 400 million euros were used by EIEFFAGE, the financing and construction body .
The Millau Viaduct is an outstanding technological and engineering breakthrough that set new standards in the field of planning, design, and construction. The bridge serves as an example of other similar possibilities in design especially keeping in mind the fact that it is the largest cable-stayed bridge in the entire Europe. An in-depth outlook on the components and structure of this construction reveals that there is a slight 20-kilometer curve that reduces floating sensations to drivers, a 3% incline to boost visibility and side screens to diminish wind effects. Furthermore, there is a 3-meter wide emergency lane for security purposes and also prevents the observation of the valley from the viaduct . Combined, these structural aspects prove to be significant advancements that open ways to future possibilities in innovation, efficiency, safety and accessibility in engineering.
Being a massive revolutionary project, the Millau Viaduct faced several challenges. The two most significant issues identified when developing the structure include the approach for crossing River Tarn and the means for traversing the enormous gap from one plateau to another in the opposite side. The solution to these two challenges was uniquely formulated where seven pylons were used rather than the standard three. Support was reinforced using the multi-span cables placed in the middle while expansion and contraction were countered by 1-meter empty spaces at the ends. Additionally, the columns were split into two smaller and flexible columns. Regarding the social, economic, and environmental Implications, the Millau Viaduct paved the way for economic and tourism development, in particular for the crossed regions. The completion of the structure turned out to be a key tourist attraction, and thus new hotels and shops were built in the areas. The social implications are related to the economic and empowerment of the local community. Concerning the environment, the Viaduct’s environmental standards were quite high with the installation of the treatment system to prevent soil pollution whereas rainwater is collected and treated .
Engineering and technological breakthroughs have seen the creation of marvels all around the world, and the Millau Viaduct is an example of such advancements. Not only is it a development that has positive economic social and environmental implications but also a strong statement that much more inventions and modern improvements can take place. Future directions point at the need to have continuous monitoring for both risk reduction and improvements. Likewise, scope control measures ensure that such infrastructures continue serving their multi-dimensional purposes even in the years to come.
U. Geek, "10 Greatest Modern Day Engineering Marvels Of The World," 8 May 2014. [Online]. Available: http://wonderfulengineering.com/10-greatest-modern-day-engineering-marvels-of-the-world/. [Accessed 18 May 2017].
Designing buildings Ltd, "The Millau Viaduct," 1 March 2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/The_Millau_Viaduct#Economy. [Accessed 18 May 2017].
Omega Center, "Project Profile: France Millau Viaduct," French OMEGA Team, Ecole Nationales Ponts et Chaussees, Paris, 2014.
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