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Friday, January 28, 2011

The World's Strangest Bridges: Millau Viaduct

Background: English architect Norman Foster designed this massive cable-stayed bridge to carry travelers over the valley of the Tarn River. It opened in 2004 with a final price tag of nearly $600 million.

Why It's Innovative: With its apex at 1125 feet, the Millau Viaduct is one of the world's tallest bridges. Despite its huge size, the construction period lasted only three years thanks to the use of GPS guidance systems, self-climbing formwork and prefabricated materials. What is unusual is to have the towers taper in both directions as they rise.

More than 1500 tons of cables support the 1.5-mile structure. Because its deck is 885 feet above sea level, drivers often find themselves above the clouds on foggy days.

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