beautiful ways to span a gap or a river
October 5, 2007 10:01 AM   Subscribe

Construction of the World's Highest Bridge, Millau Viaduct in France, which is slightly higher than the Eiffel Tower. It is now included in a list of Google Earth extremes. World's most interesting bridges. Gallery of beautiful world bridges. posted by nickyskye (23 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Funny, I was just in France and traveled between Paris and Lyon via train and was trying to remember where this bridge was located and whether or not we might cross it. Looking at the map it appears obvious now I was nowhere near it LOL. In any event, I didn't realize it was automobiles only. I'm a little surprised by that. I certainly hope I get to see it some day.
posted by PigAlien at 10:17 AM on October 5, 2007

Great post. I can't get enough of the Viaduc de Millau.
posted by grouse at 10:22 AM on October 5, 2007

Still not as high as Todd Bridges.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 10:24 AM on October 5, 2007 [3 favorites]

"Half-Bridge of Hope"? Leave it to the Russians to confuse Hope with Utter Uselessness.
posted by Reggie Digest at 10:30 AM on October 5, 2007

Wachoo talkin' 'bout kuujjuarapik?
posted by quin at 10:45 AM on October 5, 2007

I grew up near what I was always told was the longest stone arch bridge in the world, though I could never find it in bridge record books. I see on the Explore PA website it's technically the 'longest stone-masonry arch railroad bridge in the world'... probably not a major category.
Sure is purty anyway, and still doing business after more than 100 years.
posted by MtDewd at 10:49 AM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

For beautiful bridges, I'm still partial to my hometown (St. Louis) Eads Bridge. First to use steel as a major component, first to use pressurized cassions to reach bedrock, first to build out from the piers in both directions to minimize river blockage...
posted by notsnot at 11:00 AM on October 5, 2007

After one glance, I've had plenty of the Viaduc de Millau, especially as it looks exactly like the thing they have in Boston. I hate the look of cable-stayed bridges. Suspension and arches are where it's at, baby.

That reminds me of a book I read about bridges recently. Long chapter on highway overpasses: good examples, bad examples, discussions of building material, details of "haunch" design, etc, etc, etc. This guy really put a lot of thought into them.
posted by DU at 11:03 AM on October 5, 2007

The Google Earth link is a double too.
posted by smackfu at 11:47 AM on October 5, 2007

I eagerly await the upcoming and spirited Metafilter debate on whether or not installing suicide nets on the bridge will ruin the scenic quality of the structure.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 12:10 PM on October 5, 2007

I love to see good-old American knowhow in act---

Wait, that's in France? Bomb it.
posted by TrialByMedia at 1:21 PM on October 5, 2007

I realize it's a terrible thing to suggest, but I give that bridge 5... maybe 10 years before some asshole in a passenger van packed with fertilizer decides to test the tensile strength of the cable stays.

The architect, Norman Foster, said the bridge was designed to have the "delicacy of a butterfly"

"Delicate" and "bridge" are not words I enjoy seeing together.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:32 PM on October 5, 2007

The thing about cable stayed bridges is, the bridge deck has to be very rigid and strong to withstand the horizontal forces the cables impart on it. I would guess that also makes this type of bridge able to withstand the loss of one or two cables.
This goes doubly so for the Millau bridge since the deck also had to maintain structural integrity during the INSANE construction, details of which can be read in the first link.
posted by Catfry at 2:06 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

...the World's Highest Bridge...

That all depends upon who's using the World's Tallest Bridge: a bird or a human being.
The Millau Viaduct is an artistic and engineering marvel. It currently holds the record for having the highest piles (the pilers rising from the ground and supporting the bridge from below) of any bridge in the world with its highest being 244.96 meters (803.7 feet) and the highest mast (the pilers rising up from the top of the bridge and holding the suspension cables) which towers 343 meters (1,125 feet) above the roadbed of the bridge. It also has a claim to having the highest roadbed of any bridge in the world with its roadbed reaching 270 meters (885.8 feet) above the river below.

However, the roadbed of the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado in the United States tops this with its roadbed which towers 1,053 feet (321 meters) above the river below. Based upon height of roadbed, the Royal Gorge Bridge is the highest in the world while based upon mast height, the Millau Viaduct is the highest in the world.
Claims are one thing, reality another. Since 1929, the Royal Gorge Bridge has let people skywalk over 160 feet higher than the Millau Viaduct.

Nice-looking try, though.
posted by cenoxo at 9:32 PM on October 5, 2007

The Google-Earth extremes link is all of a term's geography lessons fifteen years back (and many more holidays spent pouring over a pirated copy of the Guinness Book of World Records, 1990 edition [1]). One of the bridges in the beautiful bridges link, this one in particular, is where I'll be tonight, basking in the skyline that is Singapore's business district. I don't know where this is, but I'd like to be here sometime in the neat future, hopefully sitting in that bench, experiencing some stillness and absorbing that brilliant, possibly HDR-ized, sunset.

In that sense, I'd like to think that this post represents my past, present and future.

No seriously, great set of links, nickyskye! Loved'em all.
[1]- Why yes, I'm a trivia geek, why do you ask?
posted by the cydonian at 11:31 PM on October 5, 2007

The engineering doesn't get harder just because the valley between the piers is deeper. You're comparing apples and oranges cenox, like saying an observation deck on the side of Mt. Everest is a taller building than the Sears Tower.
posted by cardboard at 7:47 AM on October 6, 2007

He's comparing roadbed height to roadbed height. And clearly that's the important metric if you're measuring tallest bridges: which one you'll fall further from until you hit the ground.
posted by smackfu at 8:21 AM on October 6, 2007

I don't think that's clear at all. A different viewpoint would be, which construction is the tallest?
posted by Catfry at 8:27 AM on October 6, 2007

What's the height of a bridge that spans a gorge with no piers?
posted by smackfu at 8:36 AM on October 6, 2007

Amazing shots. I get vertigo from just looking at some of those.
posted by Hypnic jerk at 9:25 AM on October 6, 2007

You're comparing apples and oranges cenox, like saying an observation deck on the side of Mt. Everest is a taller building than the Sears Tower.

Nope — I don't like fruit salad.

As nickyskye's FPP title states, bridges are "beautiful ways to span a gap or a river." In the same manner that a bridge's length is the horizontal span of its roadbed (or walkway) across a gap, a bridge's height is the vertical distance from the working surface of its roadbed to the lowest point of the spanned gap.

All bridges designed for human traffic have a roadbed of some kind, but not all have masts or piers. Since different gaps have different engineering solutions, comparing the height of masts, piers or other roadbed supports is somewhat misleading. Hence smackfu's question, "What's the height of a bridge that spans a gorge with no piers?"

Good point: take this this little bridge (at the foot of Mt. Everest) for example. How high is it?
posted by cenoxo at 12:35 PM on October 6, 2007

How tall is it?
posted by cardboard at 5:12 PM on October 6, 2007

If we're referring to the height of its construction — depending on the base elevation chosen (from sea level, or from the surface of the ice the ladder's ends rest on) — it could be either the world's tallest bridge (at perhaps 18,000 feet*), or one of the shortest (at a few inches).

If we're referring to the height of this little bridge over the gap it traverses, the depth of the crevasse is unknown. However, it could have been measured at a point midway across the crevasse, and then compared to the roadbed/walkway height of all other bridges. Apples to apples.

*The ladder-crevasse photo is from a 2004 Everest expedition (scroll down to "April 16- Everest BC").
posted by cenoxo at 10:14 AM on October 7, 2007

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