The bridge was opened in 2004 to close the "missing link" on the A75 autoroute that connects Paris in the north to Perpignan in the south; the Millau Viaduct was the result of 17 years of ideas, proposals, and design that resulted in shaving 37 miles off the former route through the region. But rather than choose a mundane design that simply did the job, the French went big.
The first plans were discussed in 1987 and by October 1991 the decision was made to build a high crossing of the Tarn River. In late 2001, the first stone was laid. By spring 2002, the first piers of the Millau Viaduct were rising skywards. At the same time, the anchorage points of the deck (the abutments) were appearing. A few weeks were all it took to carry out the earthworks. Twelve months after the work began, the pier "P2" went higher than 328 feet. A year later, on December 9, 2003, the concrete work was completed on time and the record for the tallest pier in the world was set at 804 feet.
The bridge's construction cost up to €394 million, with a toll plaza 6 km north of the viaduct costing an additional €20 million. The builders, Eiffage, financed the construction in return for a concession to collect the tolls for 75 years, until 2080. However, if the concession is very profitable, the French government can assume control of the bridge in 2044.
The project required about 127,000 cubic meters of concrete, 19,000 tonnes of steel for the reinforced concrete and 5,000 tonnes of pre-stressed steel for the cables and shrouds.
Từ trái: Phạm Hừu Đa, Bùi Văn Chiến & Nguyễn Xuân Thắng