Bridges are one of the oldest types of infrastructure built by mankind, and amongst the most fascinating, too, as the technological solutions and the materials used have evolved tremendously, both regarding build quality and from an aesthetic point of view.
The oldest human-built bridge dates back to the Bronze Age and is located in the Peloponnese, southern Greece, dating back to 3,500 years ago. The oldest bridge still in use is the Kemer Köprüsü bridge near Izmir in Turkey, and was built around 850 BC.
The technique of building bridges was first developed by the Romans who started using Portland cement and left behind a number of famous bridges, most notably Alcántara. In Asia, especially in India and China, the idea of building bridges emerged starting with the first centuries. The Chinese built the oldest curved stone bridge that still stands today.
After the industrial revolution in Europe and the beginning of technological advances, the first metal bridge was built in the United Kingdom in 1779, on the Severn river, and is still in use.
In this article we will identify a list of the longest and most beautiful bridges in the world today, varying in their construction type and uniqueness.
The length of a bridge can be measured according to several criteria, which sometimes leads to a change in the standings, so we preferred the simplest standard which is the total length of the structure.
The longest bridge in the world serves the high-speed line between Shanghai and Beijing. It is located between Shanghai and Nanjing and crosses the flat area of cultivated fields, canals, rivers and lakes. Perhaps the most impressive section of this bridge is the one that crosses 9 kilometers over the Yangcheng Lake. The bridge was opened in 2011 and cost $8.5 billion.
This construction is sometimes ignored in global rankings because it does not cross any water surface, and is therefore not considered a “real” bridge by many critics. It is a railway bridge that serves the high-speed line linking the north of the island to the south, and has been built to withstand catastrophic earthquakes.
This bridge is also part of the high-speed railway infrastructure between Shanghai and Beijing, but in the northern part. It crosses urban areas, rivers and canals and looks similar to the Danyang-Kunshan Bridge.
Candge Grand Bridge – China, 105.8 km
Another part of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail is crossed by Candge Grand Bridge, the world’s fourth longest bridge. Just like the former two bridges, it has a simple design but crosses very difficult terrains, including very steep hills.
Bang Na Bridge – Thailand, 55 km
Another one of the world’s longest bridges is built over a road, and functions as a 6 lane highway, extending to 12 lanes in a portion to make room for the toll stations.
Great Beijing Bridge – China, 48.1 km
The northernmost bridge serving the Shanghai-Beijing highway is located north of the above-mentioned Tianjin Bridge, between the city of Langfang and the center of Beijing. Because of the urban congestion in the region, it is also the highest segment of the Chinese group of bridges and is integrated into a complex which also features tunnels.
Lake Portchartrain Causeway Bridge – United States, 38.4 km
The world’s longest bridge over water, crossing Lake Portchartrain in Louisiana and linking the cities of New Orleans and Mandeville, it consists of two separate bridges built side by side, and stands at a 5 meter height.
Line 1, Wuhan Metro – China, 37.8 km
This bridge is actually an elevated metro line in the city of Wuhan, and is the longest continuous metro viaduct in the world. It connects the northern part of the city to the center, and finally the western part. The line will also receive an extension that will allow it to cross the Hanshui River.
Manchac Swamp Bridge – United States, 36.7 km
This twin concrete trestle bridge is located on rough Louisiana terrain, and allows the I-55 highway to cross the swampy area and connect the southern part to the New Orleans urban area. To support the strength and stability of the bridge, the columns had to be placed at a depth of 76 meters below the water level.