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A construction project: The Millau Viaduct

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  1. Summary
  2. Introduction
  3. Presentation of the project
    1. Project background: motivations for its implementation
    2. Millau viaduct: A challenge
    3. The Pre-Construction and Planning Stage
    4. Construction stage
    5. Completion of the project
    6. Resources needed and costs
    7. Result: A great success
  4. Environmental analysis: Uncertainty management
    1. Risk and uncertainty: A broad scope of definitions
    2. Key areas of uncertainty
    3. Managing uncertainty
  5. Project's stakeholders: Identification and analysis
    1. The power/interest matrix
    2. Analysis of the project's stakeholders
    3. Managing stakeholders
  6. Project organization: Ideal structure for the project
    1. External structure
    2. Internal structure
    3. Project culture
    4. Millau Viaduct Program as an organization: The bureaucratic project
  7. Conclusion
  8. Appendix
  9. References

The project of a viaduct over the Tarn Valley and the city of Millau in Southern France was a major issue for many years among the French population and the Ministry of Transport. It aimed at providing a solution for the severe traffic jam that occurred every summer, and its by-product, especially pollution and hazard inside the town of Millau. This project was a real challenge since the bridge's construction was a huge undertaking facing many technical problems and it proved to be a major construction innovation. The analysis of this project will be focused on three major areas: uncertainty management in the first part, stakeholders' management in the second part and organizational structure in the third part.
In the first part, we find that Millau's project faces a specific environment and the specific uncertainties arising from it: time and costs as well as stakeholders' expectations. Besides, threats are found to be more emphasized than opportunities, and dealing with both at the same time can help Eiffage, especially regarding reaction and pressure of local population, also referred to as residents. Even though the global level of uncertainty is rather low, the project team should work more on its relationship with the major actors involved.

[...] Project organization: ideal structure for the project Millau Viaduct Project (MVP) was very technically demanding representing a great scope project and therefore appearing as ?simply too large to manage it as a single entity.? (Buttrick 2005: 143) As the seven pylons were erected simultaneously in seven sub-projects, MVP can be considered as a program being defined in a ?series of closely related and linked projects, each of which is managed by a project manager, reporting to a program manager.? (Buttrick 2005: 143) (see appendix 3). [...]


[...] Millau Viaduct Program as an organization: the bureaucratic project Von Donk and Molloy's work (2007) can help us go more into depth considering the project as an organization having a specific structure. This study was based on the five basic structure of Mintzberg (Simple organization, Machine Bureaucracy, Professional Bureaucracy, Divisionalized Structure, Adhocracy) and the authors tried to establish parallels for project organization, i.e. to define a typology of project structure including simple project, bureaucratic project, professional project, divisionalized system and ?adhocracy? project. [...]


[...] Millau's viaduct was raising a lot of expectations but it might not have satisfied some of the stakeholders. For instance, it could have succeeded at fulfilling drivers' needs, but environmentalists might have found it destroyed the equilibrium of the environment; local people might have complained that tourists did not go through the city of Millau anymore etc. Nevertheless, Eiffage and its partners had to focus on preserving what they had learnt through that project since it was innovative and challenging. [...]

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