Impact and events

On the local economy

The viaduct effect.

Thanks to the “viaduct effect”, the mayor of Millau approved more than 100 building permits in 18 months for the construction of three hotels plus other businesses and industries. Millau has seen an economic boom since the bridge opened.

The two industrial zones in La Cavalerie to the south, and Sévérac-le-Château to the north, have both expanded greatly, accommodating new enterprises both local and national.

Pedestrian sporting events

Unusually for a bridge closed to pedestrians, a run took place in 2004 and another on 13 May 2007:

  • December 2004 - 19,000 walkers and runners of the Three Bridge Walk had the privilege of crossing the bridge deck for the first time, but the walk was not authorised to go further than pylon P1; the bridge was still closed to traffic.
  • 13 May 2007 - 10,496 runners took the departure of the race which from Place de Mandarous, in the centre of Millau, to the southern end of the viaduct. After starting on the northern side, they crossed the viaduct then retraced their steps. Total distance: 23.7 km (14.7 mi).

Famous visitors

During construction, various personalities flocked to the bridge. Amongst those:

  • Jacques Chirac for the opening ceremony 14 December 2004;
  • The Duke of Edinburgh (28 May 2004);
  • José Bové (30 April 2004);
  • Jean-Pierre Raffarin (7 April 2004);
  • Gilles de Robien (24 January 2003 and 14 December 2004);
  • Norman Foster (17 October 2003 and 14 December 2004);
  • Dominique Bussereau (29 September 2003);
  • Henri Salvador (in 2002);
  • Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin (October 2002);
  • Jean-Claude Gayssot (14 December 2001).
  • Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, presenters of BBC's Top Gear;

Miscellanea

  • In 2004, a fire started on the slope of causse rouges because of a spark originating from a welder. Some trees were destroyed.
  • The speed limit on the bridge was reduced from 130 km/h (81 mph) to 110 km/h (68 mph) because of traffic slowing down, due to tourists taking pictures of the bridge from the vehicles. Shortly after the bridge opened to traffic, passengers were stopping on the hard shoulder to admire the landscape and the bridge itself.
  • A stamp was designed by Sarah Lazarevic to commemorate the opening of the crossing.
  • The Chinese transport minister at the time visited the bridge on the first anniversary of its opening. The commission was impressed by the technical prowess of the bridge’s immense construction, but also by the legal and financial assembly of the viaduct. However, according to the minister, he did not envisage building a counterpart in People's Republic of China.
  • The cabinet of the governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, who envisaged the construction of a bridge in San Francisco Bay, asked the council of the town hall of Millau about the popularity of the construction of the viaduct.
  • This bridge was featured in a scene of Mr. Bean's Holiday.
  • The hosts of the British motoring show Top Gear featured the bridge during Season 7, when they took a Ford GT, Pagani Zonda, and Ferrari F430 spyder on a road trip across France to see the newly completed bridge.