• What started with a fallen tree has been taken to new level; both height and length, by engineers and technology. Bridges are a fundamental structure of transportation nowadays and engineers continually keep testing new materials and ideas when it comes to bridges. A mixture of science and imagination; bridges are quite fascinating as you will see. We have compiled for you a top 10 structurally amazing bridges list that will take you places-literally since these are spread all over the world.  You will find bridges taller than the Eiffel tower itself and longer than any bridge you might have seen.

10. The Hangzhou Bay Bridge

10China is not new to bridge building and has a bridge that was built in 300 A.D. still in working order. But the bridge that is on our list is rather young if you think of its age. After 9 long years of planning and construction, The Hangzhou Bay Bridges was finally opened in May 2008 for traffic. Some of its specs are as follows; 36 Km long, 6 lanes for both directions, budget of 11.8 billion yuan ($1.72 billion) and a life expectancy of 100 years. The bridge stretches over the Qiantang River at the Yangtze River Delta on the East China Sea. A high budget project, but with the life expectancy of 100 years, it is definitely going to pay off over time!

9. The Bosphorus Bridge

9The Bosphorus Bridge; links Asia to Europe and was also host to a tennis match in May 2005 between Venus Williams and Ïpek Senoglu. The bridge, 1.51 Km long, was inaugurated in 1973 as a suspension bridge with an eight lane deck. The bridge was the only linking bridge until 15 years later when Fatih Sultan Mehmed Bridge was opened. The sight at night is amazing due to its LED lighting system. The pedestrians were stopped from crossing the bridge in 1977 for safety reasons. Also known as Istanbul Strait, this bridge connects Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara.

8. Gateshead Millennium Bridge

8Remember how we talked about imagination and technology making it possible? Well, our number 8 on the list, Gateshed Millenium Bridge, definitely is a merger of both. The bridge’s design was a result of contest announced in 1996 to design an innovative pedestrian and cycle bridge over the Tyne River. The requirements were that the bridge should allow for the passing of ships, should not block the view of other bridges and must not affect the cultural activities going on either bank. The winning design was surely one that had never been seen before. It is made up of two steel arches. They are perpendicular to each other and one acts as the deck for cycles and pedestrians. When the bridge needs to be moved the whole structure moves as one with one arch acting as counter-balance and eight motors whir into action pulling the deck-arch up, making way for ships. The bridge was completed in 2000 with a length of 126 m.

7. Millau Viaduct

7At number 7, we have the tallest vehicular cable stayed bridge situated in France and completed in 2004. It was built at Tarn Valley to carry the A75 motorway south to Beziers. The highest point on this bridge falls just short of empire state building. If you ever travel on this bridge, be warned; your car will be suspended 271 meters above the valley. If you are wondering why take the risk of this tall bridge; it helps you save yourself from a four hour drive and almost a 100 km. The bridge has also helped in easing the traffic pressure of the area.
Another amazing cable-stayed bridge is the Octavio Frias de Oliveira Bridge in Brazil. That’s the next stop on our tour of world’s best bridges.

6. Octavio Frias de Oliveira Bridge

6Brazil, remember fast and furious 5? Well, it is Brazil where you would find such a fascinating bridge. São Paulo is a cosmopolitan city and is considered to be its financial hub. The bridge spans the Pinheiros River and is 900 m long with about 138 meters height. Why is it on our list? Ahem, did you take a look at the picture? Yes, two curved decks which cross each other through an X-shaped supporting tower covered by LED lighting. The tower can be colored in different lights and is sometimes used to convey important dates. The bridge has been named after Brazilian media mogul, Octavio Frias de Oliveira.

5. St. Anthony Falls Bridge

5A bridge that carried traffic in and out of Minneapolis collapsed on Aug. 1, 2007. Such events usually result in a public distrust and related issues. Within hours of this incident, officials vowed to rebuild the bridge and restore public confidence by incorporating safety features that would make is safer to travel on the bridge, the result was St. Anthony Falls Bridge which was inaugurated in September, 2008. This is a marvelous piece of engineering with high performance concrete and steel reinforcement (6.8 million kg) covered by epoxy to maintain the steel’s strength. About 323 sensors were embedded into the bridge which continually monitor the bridge and help analyze any problem area. The officials went to great lengths to ensure that no disaster would ever happen again. The concrete contains cement with Active TX which helps clean the air as well.

4. DeNeveu Creek Bridge

4Materials matter a lot when it comes to building structures. Steel used in concrete gets corroded when it’s exposed to water and/or air. Although we have a remedy for that; coating the rebars with epoxy but scientists at University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed another solution to this problem. Meet the reinforcing matrix made from a novel fiber-reinforced polymer. Yes, a lot of science so let’s break it down; basically the material is non-metallic and will not corrode while it has the strength to be used in structures providing a longer life to the structures. This material was used in DeNeveu Creek Bridge which is a 40m long bridge along Highway 151 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. The payoff is the fact that this box girder bridge will not require any maintenance for at least 75 years compared to other bridges which require it within 30-40 years. The bridge completed in 2005 is well off without any repairs until 2080!

3. Oresund Bridge

3Oresund Bridge is the link bridge between Denmark and Sweden.  The bridge came up as a challenge for the engineers since it had to carry both train and cars while the bridge had to be joined with an immersed tunnel as well. The project’s cost was around $3 billion. The whole project can be divided into three major parts; the tunnel, artificial island and the cable stayed bridge stretching over 5 miles which ends on Swedish soil. The bridge is the longest cable stayed bridge for both cars and trains. Its towers are about 204 m high. The lower deck is for the railway while the upper deck is for cars.

2. The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge

2Japan’s pride- The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge had to face quite some issues during its construction. With around 4,000 small island, Japan enjoys to be the most seismically active region. The bridge survived a 7.2 magnitude earthquake and was then re-designed during its construction phase to cater for some of the damage that had been inflicted. The rest of the construction went quite successful and without any interruptions. The bridge opened in 1998 with a span of 3.9 Km with towers about 283 meters high. The cables carry tensile forces of 132,000 tons. It also enjoys the award of being the longest span suspension bridge.

1. Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

1The number one spot has been taken by Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel. As the name suggests, it is composed of bridges and tunnels. It has a total span of 27.4 Km with majority of the bridge-tunnel structure being just above the water. There are 5,000 piers to support this bridge. The tunnels, 1 mile long, allow for the ships to pass while taking the traffic beneath the bay’s navigation area which then re-surfaces on to two man-made islands. In 1965 this masterpiece won the award of ‘Outstanding Engineering Achievement’ and was designated as ‘One of Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World’.

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