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HIGH AND MIGHTY

Complex fluted concrete columns focus attention on the $36M Verrieres viaduct on the new central France motorway. The 720m long Verrieres viaduct is one of two smaller valley crossings north of Millau. Its tapering columns up to 140m high were designed by architect Mascarella of Marseilles, and a lightweight steel lattice deck is being launched by Belgium firm Victor Buyck - part of a joint venture led by Spie Batignolles, and German owned firm Razel.

Concreting has been complex, with the firm consulting extensively with Austrian formwork supplier Doka on design of adjustable self-climbing forms. These had to handle a parabolic taper curve on the two highest of five piers, as well as the indented profile.

Verrieres gives a hint of the drama to come when the A75 autoroute hits the plunging Millau Valley.

A record breaking 2.5km long Sir Norman Foster-designed structure will carry the dual three lane road south 247m above the valley floor.

Four consortia are in the running for the 30-50 year franchise to operate the motorway route and a decision is expected shortly.

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