Eiffel's successors set for final link in highest viaduct

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The Independent Online

On balance, this may not be the best week for France to complete the first stage of one of the engineering wonders of the world.

On balance, this may not be the best week for France to complete the first stage of one of the engineering wonders of the world.

Four days after a new terminal building collapsed at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, killing four people, one of the companies that built it will today place the final link in the span of the highest viaduct ever built. The Millau viaduct, north of Montpellier, designed by Norman Foster, has one of its pillars rising 245 metres above the valley of the river Tarn, only 60 metres lower than the Eiffel Tower.

The chief contracting company - which will complete the span today in the presence of the French Prime Minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin - is Eiffage, a successor to the company started by Gustav Eiffel, father of the tower. Eiffage was involved in building the airport terminal which collapsed on Sunday.

When it opens next year, the viaduct will provide the missing link in a motorway from Paris to Montpellier.

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