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World's tallest bridge inaugurated in France
www.chinaview.cn 2004-12-15 07:54:37

    MILLAU, France, Dec. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- French President Jacques Chirac inaugurated Tuesday the world's tallest bridge, the viaduct of Millau of 270 meters above ground. 

Pillars from the Millau Viaduct, designed by the English architect Lord Norman Foster, rise above the cloud-covered valley of the river Tarn December 9.

Pillars from the Millau Viaduct, designed by the English architect Lord Norman Foster, rise above the cloud-covered valley of the river Tarn December 9. (Reuters)

    The bridge, stretching 2,460 meters, is to open to traffic Thursday, and will then ease traffic from Rhone valley to the east, used mainly by lorry drivers and tourists bound for the Mediterranean and Spain.

French President Jacques Chirac, right, unveils a plaque as he inaugurates the Millau brige, southern France Dec.14. When it opens to vehicles on Thursday, it will enable motorists to take a drive through the sky , 270 meters (891 feet) above the Tarn River valley for a 2.5 kilometer (1.6 mile) stretch through France's Massif Central mountains.

French President Jacques Chirac, right, unveils a plaque as he inaugurates the Millau brige, southern France Dec.14. When it opens to vehicles on Thursday, it will enable motorists to take a drive through the sky , 270 meters (891 feet) above the Tarn River valley for a 2.5 kilometer (1.6 mile) stretch through France's Massif Central mountains. (Xinhua/AFP)

    Before some 800 workers and technicians, including the viaduct's British architect Norman Foster, Chirac unveiled a plaque on the largest of its seven pillars.

French President Jacques Chirac talks with Lord Norman Foster English, designer of the Millau Viaduct, during the inauguration ceremony December 14. Chirac inaugurated Tuesday the world's tallest bridge, the viaduct of Millau of 270 meters above ground.

French President Jacques Chirac talks with Lord Norman Foster English, designer of the Millau Viaduct, during the inauguration ceremony December 14. (Xinhua/AFP)
 
    "The Millau viaduct takes its place among our most shining works of civil engineering. It brilliantly embodies the verve of our research and technology," he said.

    "The French people are rightly proud of the feats accomplished here -- feats which speak for France. A modern France; an enterprising, successful France; a France which invests in its future."

    The group Eiffage, the French construction giant, financed all its cost of 390 million euro (520 million dollar) and got the right to collect tolls for 75 years in return.

    The highway A75 motorway between Clermont-Ferrand and Beziers is connected with the bridge, which will easy much the traffic with only a fee of 4.9 euros (6.5 dollars) for cars and four times as much for truckers.

    The bridge received 2,000 invited guests in the day, and Eiffage predicted an average of 10,000 vehicles per day, with a peak of 25,000 during the summer holidays. Enditem

The "Patrouille de France" release colored smoke over the Millau Viaduct during its inauguration December 14. Designed by English architect Lord Norman Foster, the Millau Viaduct is composed of seven slender soaring pillars and becomes the highest bridge in the world, creating a direct route between Paris and the Mediterranean coast.

The "Patrouille de France" release colored smoke over the Millau Viaduct during its inauguration December 14. (Xinhua/AFP)

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