A bridge is defined as “a structure built to span physical obstacles without closing the way underneath such as a body of water, valley, or road, for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle”. The fact that the definition itself talks about overcoming obstacles makes the bridge one of the most inspiring and grand achievements of human ingenuity. Bridges are diverse and amazing and can be used for many purposes. From the dawn of time, the bridge has been one of the cornerstones of the importance of architecture in civilization, and today here at Kenny Slaught’s Blog, we bring you 11 of the world’s more iconic bridges.
The Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco, USA
Until the 1960’s, The Golden Gate Bridge held both world records as the tallest and the longest bridge ever built. The bridge is extremely iconic, probably one of the most popular man-made structures in the world. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t recognize its massive orange shape against the San Francisco backdrop. About 110,000 people travel on this bridge daily.
Ponte Vecchio – Florence, Italy
The name means “Old Bridge” in Italian. This beautiful classic bridge is the only World War II survivor of its kind in the city of Florence. The bridge follows the old tradition of structures that weren’t used just to help people get across, but that also houses a number of shops. Years ago, the bridge was mostly occupied by meat shops, but today you may find artists, jewelers and different artisans showcasing their wares.
Magdeburg Water Bridge – Magdeburg, Germany
The largest canal underbridge in Europe connects Berlin’s inland harbor network with the ports along the Rhine River. This massive aqueduct is pretty much a bridge for large boats, saving a lot of time and money by creating a direct route and used to require a long detour and a lift into the river itself.
Sydney Harbour Bridge – Sydney, Australia
This bridge is a steel arch bridge that goes across Sydney Harbour and carries rail, vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central business district and the North Shore. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the world’s sixth longest spanning-arch bridge and until 2012, it was the widest long-span bridge in the world as well.
Scale Lane Footbridge – Hull, England
This amazing feat of architecture and engineering is unlike any other structure ever built. The bridge swings open and close to allow for traffic to cross the river. The curved black-steel structure is a popular destination for tourist and it even has a restaurant located at the base of the rotating bridge.
Millau Viaduct – Millau, France
With a maximum height of 1,125 feet above the base of the structure, this is the tallest bridge in the whole world. British architect Norman Foster designed the bridge and it is so tall that it can be seen above the clouds if the weather conditions are right. The structure is world renowned as one of the greatest architectural achievements of all times.
Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge – Kobe/Honshu, Japan
This bridge crosses the Akashi Strait as part of the Honshu-Shikoku Highway. Measuring 1.2 miles, this bridge has the longest central span of any suspension bridge in the world. Due to its geographical location, the bridge also has to be resistant to earthquakes, extremely high winds and strong currents that push against its towers constantly.
State Route 520 Floating Bridge – Seattle, USA
The world’s longest floating bridge became even longer at the beginning of this year when it was remodeled after a 5-year project to expand the already massive structure. The 7,710-foot-long bridge is also known as the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge and it carries Washington State Route 520 across Lake Washington from Seattle to its eastern suburbs.
Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas – Bordeaux, France
This bridge is the longest vertical-lift bridge in Europe with a length of 2,200 feet. The structure is composed of four huge pylons able to lift 252 feet to allow for water traffic. The four pylons also signal, using colored lights, the high and low tide. President Francois Hollande and Alain Juppé, mayor of Bordeaux, inaugurated the bridge on 16 March of 2013.
Nanpu Bridge – Shanghai, China
This cable-stayed bridge was designed by the Shanghai Municipal Engineering Design Institute, Shanghai Urban Construction College, and Shanghai Urban Construction Design Institute, in collaboration with Holger S. Svensson. The part that doesn’t cross the bridge is probably the most impressive portion of the structure, as it spirals four miles until it reaches the height of the bridge crossing and sends cars across the river.
Tower Bridge – London, UK
Another iconic structure easily identified by almost anyone. This suspension and bascule bridge feature two 200-feet towers with a central lift that can rise to allow for water traffic. The bridge opened in 1894 and it has access for vehicles as well as pedestrian crossing.