Pictorial Essay: 16 Awesome Bridges of the World

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Bridges once terrified me. When I was a kid we used to visit a farmer in Wstern NJ. Just before the farm we had to cross a wooden railroad trestle. One lane only. Boards were missing. The structure groaned under the weight of the car.  It looked rotted …. because it was. My dad used to say — “I hope we make it across this time“.  It took me a few years to realize he was fucking with me, and until I felt comfortable crossing the George Washington bridge.  Now?  I’ll drive many miles out of my way to see a cool bridge.  Like George Costanza, I used to pretend I was a bridge engineer.

Here are all kinds of bridges I thought you might enjoy …yet, just scratching the surface. I go through this considerable effort for you all because most of you said you’d risk your life to save me. Thanks, and here ya go ….

One of Japan’s greatest engineering feats. The Akashi Straits is four miles wide at the bridge site with sea depths of over 300 feet. The two large anchor blocks each weigh 350,000 tons. It took ten years to construct the bridge, 181,000 tons of steel and 1.4 million cubic yards of concrete. The steel cable used would circle the world seven times. The two main supporting towers stand 975 feet above the strait’s surface, making it one of the tallest bridges in the world. The Akashi Straits is one of the busiest sea lanes in the world with over a thousand cargo ships per day pass under the bridge.

Akashi Bridge, Japan —- longest suspension bridge in the world

Pedestrian bridges allow for a certain amount of creativity that’s not possible with structures that need to support heavy-duty use. The undulating outer shell of the Henderson Waves is striking, and the inside is shaped into benches where tourists can sit and gaze at nature or the nearby skyline of Singapore City. The bridge, which is about 900 feet long, is illuminated by an array of LED lights each night to bolster its snake-like presence in the midst of two national parks.

Henderson Wave Bridge (pedestrian), Singapore

Commissioned by the Ottoman emperor Suleiman the Magnificent in 1557, this gorgeous arch bridge in Bosnia —– one of the most exemplary pieces of Islamic architecture anywhere —- stood for more than 400 years until it was destroyed in the Balkans War in 1993. It was rebuilt after the war ended, and re-opened in 2004. The bridge is made of stone and limestone and built into the cliffs along the Neretva River.

The Old Bridge, Bosnia

The tallest mast stands at about 1,125 feet over the Tarn River valley, making the Millau Viaduct the world’s tallest bridge. It doesn’t cross over water, but thick fog often rolls into the valley, obscuring the surrounding hills and valleys. Its construction cost more than half a billion dollars and took just over three years to complete. The builders, Eiffage, financed the construction in return for a concession to collect the tolls for 75 years, until 2080. The project required about 127,000 cubic yards of concrete, 19,000 tons of steel for the reinforced concrete and 5,000 tons of pre-stressed steel for the cables and shrouds.

The ancient Greek historian Herodotus wrote of the desire of Persian emperors for a bridge across the strait as long ago as 485 B.C. The dream was fulfilled in 1973 … and at the time was the longest suspension bridge in the world outside the United States.

Bosphorus Bridge, Turkey —– the bridge that connects two continents

Built between 1599 and 1602, during the period of the Persian empires known as the Savafid dynasty, which lasted from the early 16th to the early 18th century. The Si-o-se Pol is translated as the Bridge of 33 Arches, for the rows of arches that line either side of its double-deck span.

Bridge Of 33 Arches, Iran

This unique bridge–a water bridge across water–connects East and West Germany over the River Elbe near the Town of Magdeburg, close to Berlin. At 918 meters, it is the longest navigable aqueduct in the world. Completed in 2003, The waterway was more than 80 years in the planning as construction started in the 1930s, but was halted during the Second World War. The bridge took six years to build at a cost of about half a billion euros.

Magdeburg, Germany —– world’s longest water bridge

Draw bridge?  We don’t need no stinkin’ draw bridge!  We just pick up the whole damn road!

Slauerhoffbrug Bridge, Netherlands

The Pont du Gard was built shortly before the Christian era to allow the aqueduct of Nîmes (which is almost 50 km long) to cross the Gard river. The Roman architects and hydraulic engineers who designed this bridge, which stands almost 150 feet high and is on three levels – the longest measuring about 1,000 feet created a technical as well as an artistic masterpiece. It was constructed entirely WITHOUT the use of mortar and the aqueduct’s stones — weighing up to six tons — were precisely cut to fit perfectly together eliminating the need for mortar.

Pont du Gard Aqueduct, France —– the brilliance of the Romans

Not the prettiest bridge in the world … but, damn, it’s 22 miles long ….. making it the longest ocean-crossing bridge in the world. Many engineering hurdles had to be overcome, and it took over 600 experts ten years just to design. Engineers had to account for how Hangzhou Bay’s extremely strong tides and powerful typhoons would affect the structure. From end to end, the bridge is slightly S-shaped, which helps it withstand the elements. Future plans include building a service area right in the middle of the bridge.

Opening in 2009, the Siduhe bridge is officially the world’s highest bridge. It is located an incredible 1,627 ft above ground to achieve this record. To get a scale of how high up this bridge is, it is higher than the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel tower, the Pyramids of Giza and the Big Ben. Building this bridge was a challenge because of its location. It wasn’t possible to use cranes, boats or even get helicopters up there so the engineers came up with the interesting idea of using rockets instead. Over 1000 meters of tether was attached to the end of a rocket and shot all the way across the gorge to help set up foundations.

Sidhue River Bridge, China —– highest bridge in the world

Why did the crab cross the road? To avoid the clap. Christmas Island is a tiny Australian territory 230 miles off the coast of Indonesia, sees an annual migration of red crabs … 120 MILLION every year … journeying from their spawning grounds, located inland, to the ocean. The crabs migrate in such staggering numbers that roads become impassable, leading wildlife rangers to erect some of the strangest … and heavily trafficked bridges… on the planet.

Crab Bridge, Australia —– yeah, that’s right, they built a bridge for crabs

These remarkable pedestrian bridges grow naturally from the aerial roots of fig trees. The Megahalaya root bridges thrive in the East Khasi Hills, a remote district of northeast India. To grow your own follow these steps: near the base of a suitably large fig tree, lay a betel nut trunk over the stream you wish to cross; train the fragile young aerial roots over the surface; when they grow to reach the other bank let them take root in the soil and remove the tree trunk. In several years time, you can cross.

GOD made this bridge in India

From certain angles the Storseisundet Bridge—part of a popular road-trip route linking small villages along the Atlantic Ocean—seems to vanish in midair. The 850 foot-long simple arch, and accidental optical illusion, was constructed in 1989 and makes a bend in the middle of the span that hides the other half from view.

Storseisundet Bridge, Norway ——— shit, I hope my windshield wipers are working

Storseisundet Bridge, Norway —– Mapquest fucks up yet again

Trift Bridge – above the Trift Glacier — is considered by many as the most spectacular pedestrian suspension bridge of the Alps. Suspension … that means it sways. You can only get to it via a scary cable car ride. The bridge is 320 feet about ground …err, jagged rocks and ice, and almost 500 feet long. It sways. Did I mention that? Once they actually arrive there, 9 out of 10 American tourists will tell the tour guy, “Blow Me”, and then lie about it when they get home.

The most elegant bridge in the world, imho.  Just look at those lines!

Seri Wawasan Bridge, Malaysia -----  simply stunning

Seri Wawasan Bridge, Malaysia —– simply stunning


Seri Wawasan Bridge, Malaysia —– even more spectacular at night

Earth is on the left side. Heaven is on the right. After considerable theological studies, I have concluded that there is only one requirement to cross the bridge; don’t be a fuckin asshole in life. That means 99% of TBPers will we walking the Streets Of Gold immediately upon their earthly demise. But not Nonanonymous … that fucker is going straight to hell.


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