Transport bridges play a crucial role in connecting cities and countries, facilitating trade, and allowing people to travel long distances without interruption. These impressive structures are feats of engineering, often spanning vast distances over treacherous terrain, waterways, or busy urban areas.
From the Confederation Bridge in Canada to the recently completed Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge in China, the longest transport bridges in the world are some of the most iconic and awe-inspiring structures ever built. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the longest transport bridges around the world and the engineering marvels that they represent.
The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge
This construction, also known as the Pearl River Delta Bridge, is one of the longest bridges in the world. It connects the three major cities of Hong Kong, Zhuhai, and Macau and is considered to be one of the longest sea-crossing bridges in the world, spanning a total length of 34.1 miles or 55 kilometers.
The bridge is a remarkable engineering construction that required the use of a series of interconnected tunnels, viaducts, and bridges, including a 19-mile-long (ca. 30 km) main bridge that sits atop 4.3 miles (around 7 km) of undersea tunnels. The bridge was opened to the public in October 2018 and has since become a major transportation route for the Greater Bay Area of China.
The Confederation Bridge
This is the longest bridge in Canada, connecting the Canadian province of New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island. The construction has a total length of 8 miles (ca. 13 km) and took four years to build. The bridge can withstand up to 70 mph (110 km/h) wind gusts and has become one of Canada’s major tourist attractions since its opening in 1997.
The construction was built to replace the ferry service that was previously the only way to access Prince Edward Island and has become an iconic symbol of the region. The Confederation Bridge is a toll bridge and is open year-round, providing a vital transportation link for both tourists and locals.
The Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge
The longest transport bridge globally, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is the Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge in China. This bridge has a total length of 102.4 miles (ca. 165 km) and was completed in 2010. It’s located on the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway, crosses the Yangtze Delta, and has several spans.
The construction of the bridge took 4 years to complete and cost approximately $8.5 billion. The bridge was designed to withstand earthquakes, typhoons, and collisions with ships. It’s considered one of the engineering marvels and has significantly reduced travel time between Beijing and Shanghai.
The Bang Na Expressway
This object, also known as the Bangkok Highway, is a six-lane elevated highway in Thailand that runs for 33.5 miles (54 km) from central Bangkok to Chonburi Province. It was completed in 2000 and for ten years held the record for being the longest bridge in the world until it was surpassed by the Beijing Grand Bridge in 2010.
The construction of the Bang Na Expressway required a massive amount of resources, including 1.8 million cubic meters of concrete and over $1 billion USD. The highway provides a critical connection for commuters and travelers, helping to alleviate traffic congestion in the densely populated Bangkok metropolitan area and providing additional space for heavy duty trucks.
The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
Another significant bridge is the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana, which spans 24 miles (ca. 39 km) across the largest inland waterway route in the United States. It was designed to connect towns and cities, serve as an interstate route, and provide recreational opportunities. The construction process took four years and was completed in 1956. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway has two parallel bridges, each accommodating four lanes.
The bridge was built to perfection. More than 9,000 concrete piles support it for stability. Not a single natural disaster has so far been able to cause serious damage to it, not even the well-known hurricane Katrina.
The daily traffic on this road doesn’t reach up to three thousand drivers a day, so this bridge cannot be called busy. You can drive across the bridge without fear of the very real alligators swimming in calm waters underneath you and the pier.
Transport bridges have been a crucial component in the development of transportation systems around the world. These impressive structures have been built to span vast bodies of water and connect previously isolated regions.
The bridges discussed in this article are only a few examples of the incredible feats of engineering and innovation that have been achieved to create these vital transportation links. As technology advances, it’s likely we’ll continue to see more impressive transport bridges constructed to connect people and places across the globe.