Wednesday, December 15, 2004

France has fighter jets?

The Christian Science Monitor reports on the world's tallest roadbridge:

A walk through the Tarn River valley in southern France is a reminder of ages gone by. Descend the verdant hills of Midi-Pyrénées and you'll pass centuries-old villages, and shepherds dotting the hillsides.

But further down the valley, near the banks of the Tarn River, the pastoral scene abruptly ends.

Towering above the gray rocks and primeval trees that line this lazy river stretches a state-of-the-art symbol of modern architecture, its seven staggering pillars piercing the valley mist. The Millau Bridge - the world's tallest - has arrived.

French president Jacques Chirac inaugurated the bridge Tuesday as fighter jets roared overhead. Starting Thursday, cars can drive the 2.5-kilometer (1.6 mile) route that completes France's newest highway, connecting Paris to the Mediterranean.

The roadway is 885 feet high, the towers are 1,125 feet, the building cost was over $500 million, and the designer, Norman Foster, is British.

For some reference, the Golden Gate is 220 feet off the water, the towers are 746 feet, and it cost $35 million to build in the 1930s.