Great Structures of Europe

Falkirk Wheel
Troll Gas Platform
Millennium Dome
Laerdal Road Tunnel
Large Hadron Collider
Millau Viaduct
Location: Millau, France.
Fame: World's tallest bridge.
Where can I learn about the Millau Viaduct?
GPS coordinates:
View the Millau Viaduct on a Google map.
Google Map
- The Millau Viaduct is a highway bridge that spans the Tarn valley in France.
Cost: $523 million.
Height: top of pylons: 343m; road: 270m.
Length: 2460m.
Construction completed: December, 2004.
Support: 7 piers ranging from 77m to 244m in height.
(Image courtesy
Daniel Lavabre; © 2005)
Location: Netherlands.
In 1953 The Netherlands was confronted with the worst natural disaster in its history. During an extremely strong storm, the North Sea flooded the river delta of the southern part of Holland. No less than 1835 people were killed and thousands of homes were destroyed.

The Dutch government decided this should never happen again and started the 'Deltaplan', an operation that involved building tens of kilometers of dykes and bridges, all together called the 'Deltawerken'. This project should prevent our country from ever flooding again.

The easiest way to establish maximum safety would have been to lock up the entire country with gigantic dykes. But Holland always has made a living by sailing the seas and trading abroad and in its sea ports. The city of Rotterdam even has one of the largest sea ports in the world. Besides that, stopping the tides would destroy much of the natural life in the river deltas. This meant that the Deltaplan should have amongst others, some very special bridges that allow the water to come in, but stop it if needed...

(Text courtesy Hans Netten
Where can I learn about the Deltawerken?
GPS coordinates:
View part of the Deltawerken on a Google map.
Google Map
Falkirk Wheel
Location: Falkirk, Scotland.
Fame: The world's first, and only, rotating boat lift.
- The Falkirk Wheel is an ingenious mechanism employing two water-filled gondolas attached 180 degrees apart from each other.
- The wheel joins the Forth and Clyde to the Union canal.
Height of lift: 115ft.
Load capacity: 600 tonnes; up to 4 20m boats at a time.
Construction completed: May, 2002.
- 15,000 hand-tightened bolts were used in its construction.
- Operation of the lift consumes only 1.5kW -- about the same amount used by two hair dryers.
Where can I learn about the Falkirk Wheel?
GPS coordinates:
View the Falkirk Wheel on a Google map.
Google Map
Location: Between Dover, UK and Calais, France.
Fame: World's longest undersea tunnel (?)
- The tunnels are 50 kilometres long and 30 metres apart and were bored in the rock strata under the Channel at an average depth of 45 metres below the seabed.
- The two large tunnels (7.6 metres diameter) each contain a single track railway line.
- The smaller service tunnel (4.8 metres diameter) is located between the two rail tunnels and is equipped with a wire guidance system for specially designed service tunnel vehicles.
- All three tunnels are connected every 375 metres by a cross-passage which gives access to the service tunnel in case of emergency. The cross-passages are also used for ventilation and maintenance service access.
- Every 200 metres, the two rail tunnels are linked by piston relief ducts. These are used for the regulation of the air pressure in the tunnels.
- All three tunnels are lined with concrete linings.
(Copyright Eurotunnel. Images and text used with permission.)
Where can I learn about the Eurotunnel?
GPS coordinates (Dover):
GPS coordinates (Calais):
View the Dover Eurotunnel entrance on a Google map.
Google Map
Troll Gas Platform
Location: 80km northwest of Bergen, Norway.
Fame: World's largest offshore gas platform
- Owner: Shell Oil
- The construction contract including mechanical outfitting was awarded to Norwegian Conractors (NC) in March of 1991. The value of the contract was NOK 4,150 million. Start of construction was in July 1991.
- The dry weight of the platform's gravity base structure is 656,000 tonnes.
Total height: 369 metres. The bottom 36 metres (skirts) is pressed down into the seabed.
- The volume of concrete used is 245,000 cubic metres, which corresponds to 215,000 foundations for ordinary houses and includes 100,000 tonnes of reinforcement steel or approximately 15 Eiffel towers.
- 230,000 tonnes of gravel and 215,000 tonnes of sand have been used.
- Over 2,000 persons were employed at the peak of the construction period for the base structure.
Google Map
View the Calais Eurotunnel entrance on a Google map.
(Images and text used with permission from Shell Oil Ltd.)
Where can I learn about the Troll Gas Platform?
GPS coordinates (approx.):
View the general location of the Troll on a Google map.
Google Map
Millennium Dome
Location: Greenwich, United Kingdom.
Fame: World's largest dome.
- The Millennium Dome is located on a 130-acre site on the Greenwich Peninsula, accessible by both land and water.
- The 320m diameter dome is suspended from a series of twelve 100m steel masts and is held in place by over 70 km of high strength cables.
(Images Copyright Hayes Davidson. Text used with permission.)
Where can I learn about the Millennium Dome?
GPS coordinates:
View the Millennium Dome on a Google map.
Google Map
<- Home
Laerdal Road Tunnel
Location: Aurland to Laerdal, Norway.
Fame: World's longest auto tunnel.
- Length of tunnel: 24,510 metres
- Longest ventilation tunnel: 2,100 metres
- Opened on: November 27th, 2000
- Construction period: 1995 - 2000
- Total project costs (2000 prices): 1,050 million Norwegian kroner
- Cost of tunnel (2000 prices): 930 million Norwegian kroner
- Price per metre completed tunnel: 38,000 Norwegian kroner
- Turning bays: 15
- Break down lay-bys: 48
- Average daily traffic: 1,000 vehicles
- Highest frequency hourly traffic: 400 vehicles
(Information courtesy Norwegian Public Roads Administration)
(Public Domain Image)
Where can I learn about the Laerdal Tunnel?
GPS coordinates:
View the location of the Laerdal tunnel on a Google map.
Google Map
Photo Credit:
Brian McMorrow
More Falkirk Wheel pictures...
Large Hadron Collider (LHC)
Photo Credit:
The ATLAS Experiment
at CERN,
Location: Switzerland/France.
Fame: World's largest machine; the fastest racetrack on the planet; the emptiest space in the Solar System; the hottest spots in the galaxy, but even colder than outer space; the biggest and most sophisticated detectors ever built; the most powerful supercomputer system in the world, etc...
What is the LHC?
The LHC is the world's largest particle accelerator.

What does it do?
A particle accelerator accelerates two beams of protons in opposite directions, so that they collide with each other. It is predicted that these collisions will reveal new particles. Some of these particles may help scientists solve the mysteries of the Universe, such as what causes mass.

The LHC boasts an incredible number of statistics; here are just a few:
- The precise circumference of the LHC accelerator is 26 659m, with a total of 9300 magnets inside. Not only is the LHC the world’s largest particle accelerator, just one-eighth of its cryogenic distribution system would qualify as the world’s largest fridge. All the magnets will be pre-cooled to -193.2°C (80 K) using 10 080 tonnes of liquid nitrogen, before they are filled with nearly 60 tonnes of liquid helium to bring them down to -271.3°C (1.9 K).
(Information courtesy CERN - LHC: Facts & figures)
Where can I learn about the LHC?
GPS coordinates:
View the location of the LHC on a Google map.
Google Map
Listen to a CBC Radio Quirks & Quarks podcast about the LHC.
Dr. Brian Cox speaks about the LHC at TED.