Across the world from the Far East to the far west, there are plenty of rivers and chasms over which humans have to pass, and bridges are invaluable in this matter. We have scanned the world map edge to edge and found some truly amazing bridges. So, here are the top 10 bridges of the world.
Arguably the most famous bridge in the world, the London Bridge was built across the river Thames. Something of a bridge has already existed in that place for as long as history can remember, maybe even before. The modern bridge that we see in that place today is only 50 years old or so. The original bridge was built in the beginnings of the 1800’s, and was bought by an American who transported it to Arizona, where it remains on display today.
The second most famous bridge and until recently the longest bridge ever is the majestic Golden Gate bridge. It sits astride the Golden Gate bay separating San Francisco and Maine County. It is so large that you can fit 40 Boing Jumbo Jets end to end on its span and still have some legroom.
Finished in 1937, the Golden Gate bridge’s deck rises 220 feet above the water, and is hung by over 80,000 miles of wires coiled into two gigantic cables. Its massive twin towers are set 4200 feet apart, each leaning six inches away from vertical to create tension on the cables hanging from their shoulders. Just the orange paint of the bridge alone can cover the entire white house 17 times over and still have some leftover.
In Kobe, Japan, the beautiful and giant Akashi Kaikyo Bridge spans the Akashi strait, its sheer proportions numbing the mind. Almost as high as the Eiffel tower, the bridge’s towers support the massive two and a half miles long span carrying 9 million vehicles every year via its 6 comfortably wide lanes.
Built under severe beatings of typhoons, tsunamis, and heart-dampening rainfall, the bridge is supposed to be as strong as it is big. The 12,828 feet of roadway over the bridge is well-protected from the earth’s fury. The area being earthquake prone, the bridge was built with special flexible technology.
Only about 40 years or so old, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in St. Petersburg, Florida is truly a piece of beauty! It is as long as the Mount Everest is high (over a kilometer), with sunshine yellow colored steel cables hanging the span, spreading a sense of warmth and joy to the people on and around the bridge.
But don’t get deceived by the beauty of the bridge, because beneath the beauty slumbers a beast. The Sunshine Skyway is among the toughest bridges in the world. Indeed, it can withstand a direct collision with a fully loaded ship twice the size of Titanic at full speed and that only gets its paint scratched.
The Tower Bridge of London is among the most famous landmarks in the city. A pride of the British Capital, it was the most expensive bridge at its time (it cost 1 million pounds exactly, in 1894). The bridge is made mostly out of Cornish granite and Portland stone, giving it quite a solid structure that has aged very well.
The Tower Bridge of London was primarily constructed to reduce the traffic on the original London Bridge mentioned above. Iconic in its majestic singular appearance, the bridge is called a combine bascule and suspension bridge due to the duality of its engineering. It now features a glass floor for the tourists.
Built back in the 1890’s, this oddly named bridge is located in Queensferry of Scotland. It was one of the very first steel bridges to be constructed in the world – with around 54,000 tons of steel. The huge bridge has over 7 million rivets holding it together. All of that made the Firth of Forth bridge among the strongest bridges from that era.
The primary function of the bridge was railroad loading, and it still functions well to this day carrying nearly two hundred trains across the river every day. One of the major arteries connecting Glasgow and Edinburgh, the Firth of Forth is among the highlander’s favorite workhorse infrastructure.
The spot of many romances and mysteries, of many movies and TV shows, of many enjoyments and sorrows, the Brooklyn Bridge in New York has to be one of the top pieces of infrastructure the New Yorkers love most. Opened in 1883, it connected Brooklyn and the island of Manhattan, and was the longest suspension bridge in the world before the Golden Gate Bridge stole that award. Not only this – at that time, the towers of this bridge were the tallest buildings in New York as well.
However, the real significance of the Brooklyn bridge isn’t in its engineering but in the cultural value it represents. It has been a silent actor in many a novels and movies. The bridge very clearly divides two different cultures – that of the New Yorkers and of the Brooklynites.
This exceptionally long structure is so massive that it is one of the few man-made things that can be seen from a geostationary orbit in space. The unique engineering marvel that is the combination of bridge and tunnel stretches a whopping 17.6 miles long, and it is supported by more than five thousand concrete pilings.
Over 30 years rolled by till the Chesapeake Bay bridge tunnel hybrid was complete, bleeding off nigh five hundred million dollars. The bridge-tunnel at Virginia Bech has a twofold purpose – first to shorten the Virginia-Maryland-Delaware commute, and secondly a line of defense for the US Navy in that area to remain functional even if the bridges in the area are taken or destroyed.
Australians lovingly call this great grey structure the “Coat Hanger”. It took them 5 years to complete the Sydney Harbour bridge through the great depression era. Aptly named, the bridge sits 194 feet above the said harbor, consuming 72 thousand gallons of gray paint every year for maintenance.
The 53 thousand ton steel bridge connects the central Sydney business district and the North Shore, carrying huge amounts of vehicles, bicycles, rail, and even pedestrian traffic every day. It is a world heritage site and is probably the longest steel-arch bridges in the world, spanning 1650 feet.
The funkiest bridge in our top ten bridges list has to be this wicked bridge in Gateshead, England. Also called the “Blinking Eye” bridge, it is the first and only tilting bridge in the world. A result of an incredible innovation of engineering, the Gateshead bridge allows only bicycle and pedestrians, but it can fold up to let boats pass underneath as well.
When the Gateshead bridge folds up to let a boat pass, it looks like an eye is blinking, hence it got the comic nickname. It was opened it 2001, but was officially inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth in 2002. Since then, it has snatched up a lot of awards including the most innovative architecture.