Architects: Foster and Partners with engineer Michel Virlogeux
In an extraordinary project, Eiffel, the great infrastructure consortium, have built a viaduct to span the Tarn valley. The structural solution to this 2km crossing was to build a procession of slender concrete piers, supporting a road bridge, made like the hull of a ship; each steel hull section was pushed out across the gap, like a suspended super-tanker.
Chirac: "The Millau viaduct takes its place among our most shining works of civil engineering. It brilliantly embodies the verve of our research and technology.
"It is a magnificent example, in the long and great French tradition, of audacious works of art, a tradition begun at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries by the great Gustave Eiffel.
"The French people are rightly proud of the feats accomplished here - feats which speak for France. A modern France, an enterprising, successful France, a France which invests in its future."