MILLAU, France - Piercing the sky above the verdant hills of southern France, a roadway bridge hailed as the tallest in the world was officially inaugurated Tuesday.
Celebrated as a work of art and an object of French national pride, the Millau bridge will enable motorists to take a drive through the sky — 891 feet above the Tarn River valley for 1.6-mile stretch through France’s Massif Central mountains.
Designed by British architect Norman Foster, the steel-and-concrete bridge with its streamlined diagonal suspension cables rests on seven pillars — the tallest measuring 1,122 feet, making it 53 feet taller than the Eiffel Tower.
The bridge, which has an airy and fluid appearance, was designed to have the “delicacy of a butterfly,” Foster said in an interview with regional daily newspaper Midi Libre.
“A work of man must fuse with nature. The pillars had to look almost organic, like they had grown from the earth,” said Foster, who also designed London’s Millennium Bridge.
Colorado’s Royal Gorge Bridge, towering 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River, is the world’s tallest suspension bridge — but it is designed for pedestrians. The Kochertal viaduct in Germany was the highest roadway, at 607 feet, officials said.