Feats of human wonder
While most of the longest bridges in the world exist in Asia and the United States, engineering marvels that allow travelers to pass over large bodies of water and/or miles of tricky terrain, on a train or in a car, exist across the globe.
The Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge
At 102 miles in length, China’s Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge is the world’s longest bridge. Built at a cost of approximately $8.5 billion dollars, per Britannica, this link between Shanghai and Nanjing opened to as a viaduct on the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway in June 2011. As of publication, this bridge remains in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest bridge in the world.
Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge
Also in China is the longest bridge in the world made of glass where pedestrians pay high prices for what Business Insider calls a “colossal waste of time.” That’s thanks to a sea of people and their shoes which scuff the glass beneath feet, despite the fact that booties are mandatory to, in theory, protect the 99 panels of nearly 24-inch thick glass.
Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
Per the Telegraph, “Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in southern Louisiana is an epic structure that crosses one of the most famous bodies of water in the United States; a lake that has inspired literature, music, and film.” This nearly 24 mile-long bridge is the longest bridge in the world that’s not in Asia.
The Vasco da Gama Bridge
The longest bridge in Europe, found east of Lisbon, Portugal, took more than 3,000 workers 18 months to build. Heavy cloud cover on its inauguration day during the 1998 Lisbon World Exposition meant that travelers couldn’t see the other side. Spanning an impressive 10.7 miles over the Tagus River, “the Vasco da Game was named after the famous Portuguese explorer to commemorate the fifth centenary of his arrival from India in 1498.
Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, Switzerland
In Switzerland, you’ll find a 1,620-foot suspension bridge that is the longest bridge in the world exclusively for pedestrian use. According to the Telegraph, the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge crosses, “A valley between Grächen and Zermatt, and offers scenic views of some of Switzerland’s highest peaks, including the famed Matterhorn.
Millau Viaduct, France
At 8,071-feet, the Millau Viaduct is not even close to being one of the longest bridges in the world. Instead, this engineering marvel often seen cutting through the clouds on the A75 highway between Paris and Barcelona is the tallest bridge and, remarkably, is even higher than the Eiffel Tower.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
Part bridge, part tunnel, this 17.6-mile marvel of engineering opened for automotive traffic way back in 1964. By the following year, it had been designated as “One of Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World,” according to Travel Trivia. The site goes on to explain that the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, “connects the Delmarva Peninsula with southeastern Virginia, spanning across open waters around the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
Atchafalaya Basin Bridge
The twin bridge that spans the largest river swamp in the country opened in 1973 and at the time, “Was the longest bridge in the United States,” reports the Advertiser. Drivers and passengers alike are afforded stellar views of Louisiana’s wetlands from Interstate 10 during the 18-mile stretch.
Bang Na to Bangpakong Expressway
Is a bridge still a bridge if it doesn’t cross over water? The six lanes of The Bang Na in Thailand span a whopping 33.5 miles, including a run through Bangkok, with only a relative drop of the Bang Pakong River flowing beneath. Structurally this bridge, which ranks as the longest road bridge in the world, was made with over a million cubic meters of concrete, according to Road Traffic Technology, and instead of a sea or lake, rises nearly 100 feet above another stretch of road, National Highway Route 34.