France: Inauguration of the world's tallest bridge

Soaring above a valley through the green hills of central &to=http:// ' target=_blank>France, a stunning British-designed bridge hailed as the tallest of its kind in the world opened today.

The 1.6-mile viaduc de Millau has been described as one of the most beautiful bridges ever, a work of art as much as an engineering feat.

Its architect, Sir Norman Foster, has said driving across at a record 270 metres (885ft) above the Tarn valley should feel like "flying a car", informs the Guardian.

"This structure creates a dramatic silhouette, and crucially it makes the minimum intervention in the landscape," architect Norman Foster said on his company's Web site. "It is delicate, transparent, and uses the minimum material."

The bridge was built by Eiffage SA, France's third-largest construction company, to Foster's design. Its highest pylon measures 343 meters -- about 20 meters taller than the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Eiffel Tower in Paris, which Eiffage helped build in 1889.

The cable-stayed viaduct, connecting two plateaus in the Massif Central, required 14,000 metric tons of steel and is supported by seven pillars that contain 205,000 tons of concrete.

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