Examining The Definition Of The Millau Bridge Construction Essay

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The Millau Bridge, is a cable-stayed-bridge that is located in southern France, the bridge will connect the A75 motorway from Paris to Barcelona. Millau Bridge is constructed over the Tarn Valley near Millau a small town in southern France. Designed by the French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux and British architect Norman Foster, it is the tallest cable-stayed-bridge in the world which stands at 343 meters tall. It took roughly ten years of research and four years of implementation to complete the project. Construction began October 10th 2001 and was intended to take about three years to complete. However, bad weather and high winds delayed the initial schedule. A second schedule was then calculated and aimed for the bridge to be completed by January 2005. Once revised it was completed many weeks ahead of schedule. It then opened for traffic on December 16th 2004.

The construction of the Millau Bridge was to be managed and financed by Eiffage group under concession from French government. Subcontractors including Eiffage Construction (in charge of the construction), Eiffel Company (in charge of assembling the steel deck and pylons), Forclum (in charge of all the electrical works), Appia Research (in charge of the development and application of the coating for the deck) and Eiffage Concessions (in charge of tolls).

The planning phase for the Millau Bridge began in 1987. It took governmental officials, engineers and designers fourteen years before moving on to the construction phase. The initial planning stage started with the idea of connecting the northern motorway with the southern motorway, crossing the Tarn Valley. Sketches and design outline of the bridge crossing the Tarn Valley were then developed. Research into the project took almost 7 years to figure out how this project was going to be done. They finally decided to build the Millau Bridge a few kilometres in an area downstream of Millau. It took a further two years to choose the winning design for the bridge. The winning design was created by Michel Virlogeux, and was drawn by Norman Foster. In 1998 the government gave permission for the construction of the bridge to begin in December 2001, after fourteen years of planning.

Eiffage teamed up with two environment specialists who steered them through the planning phase as well as execution stage of the project to ensure the environment friendliness of the project. The construction of the bridge was planned in such a manner as to minimize the environmental impact. By using steel in place of concrete for most of the construction, the project also employed fewer machines and trucks. Using steel will also reduce cost. As we all know, steel is a recyclable material, so that it can be recycled on a large scale. Using steel means less concrete is used and therefore less water, an important advantage in a very dry region.

Construction of the Millau Bridge took place on October 10th 2001. Construction started firstly by laying the foundation for the concrete piers in December. Factories fabricated certain parts of the steel deck to reduce the volume of material that had to be worked on-site, that is something that couldn’t be done with any concrete structure. The use of steel has another advantage; steel components could be welded together, assembled and painted on site or in a factory. This has great affect on the quality of the finished piece it also guarantees safety. Less equipment and material would be used, so there were less trucks going back and forth clogging up traffic and disturbing locals.

The manufacturing plant contracted with Eiffage which is located in Lauterbourg had 18 months to supply the elements for the deck and the piers for the bridge. The deck spans were push-launched into place using hundreds of high-pressure hydraulic cylinders, pumps and a PC-synchronised lifting system using cutting-edge technology and satellite guided navigation systems. The Millau Bridge was a well planned and executed project.

There was nothing that really went wrong with the project just had to deal with two major issues, one was identified in building the structure. Crossing the Tarn Valley was the biggest obstacle the huge gap from one plateau to the other made it a massive challenge for engineers. The solution that was proposed is unique, using seven pylons instead of the typical two or three.

The documentary should begin by focusing on the rich history of the city and the beautiful sight surrounding the Millau Bridge. It should take a closer look at why the bridge was built there and how the idea came about. It should later focus on the engineering brilliance of the project and how it was managed. It should ask the very important questions like: