Have you ever noticed why in war movies, one of the most important parts of the story would invariably be the battle to control a bridge? The one on the attack would go all out to secure the bridge, while the one on the retreat would try to blow it up and render it useless. That is how important bridges are. Even in times of peace, bridges are an integral part of the economy. It brings two different points together and makes traveling faster, cheaper and more convenient. It should not matter how far apart the two points are. All one has to do is build a long bridge.
So here now is a list of the top 10 longest bridges in the world.
10. Runyang Bridge, China – 35,660 meters
The Runyang Bridge was completed in 2005 to serve road traffic. Its main span is 1,490 meters long. It is part of the Beijing to Shanghai Expressway. It is actually a bridge complex that crosses the Yangtze River in Jiangsu Province going down towards Nanjing. It links Zhenjiang on the south bank of Yangtze with Yangzhou on the north bank.
9. Hangzhou Bay Bridge, China – 35,673 meters
The Hangzhou Bay Bridge was completed in 2007 to serve road traffic. Its main span measures 448 meters. The bridge has a cable-stayed portion and connects the municipalities of Jiaxing and Ningbo in the province of Zhejiang. It is considered as one of the longest trans-oceanic bridges in the world. The bridge has resulted into an increase in commerce as the travel time between Ningbo and the city of Shanghai has been significantly reduced from four hours to just over two and a half hours.
8. Yangcun Bridge, China – 35,812 meters
Also known as the viaduct of the Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Railway, the Yangcun Bridge was completed in 2007 and serves high-speed railway. It can accommodate trains traveling at speeds of as much as 350 kilometers per hour. It is considered as the fastest conventional train service in the world using top speed as basis. Because of this, travel time between Beijing and Tianjin, the two largest cities in Northern China, has been reduced by more than half from 70 minutes to 30 minutes.
7. Manchac Swamp Bridge, United States – 36,710 meters
The Manchac Swamp Bridge was completed in 1979 to serve road traffic. Also known as the I-55 Manchac Swamp Crossing, it is located in the state of Louisiana. The bridge represents a third of I-55’s 66 miles inside the state. It is considered to be one of the longest bridges over water in the world. Building the bridge required piles to be driven 76 meters beneath the swamp. It is estimated that the cost amounted to $7 million per mile.
6. Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, United States – 38,442 meters
The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is considered to be the longest continuous bridge over water. Its main span measures only 46 meters. The Causeway actually consists of two parallel bridges with the southbound being completed first in 1956 and the northbound getting done 13 years later. The bridge is located in Louisiana and connects Mandeville in the north with the New Orleans suburb of Metairie in the south. It features bascule spans and is supported with 9,500 concrete pilings.
5. Beijing Grand Bridge, China – 48,153 meters
The Beijing Grand Bridge is also known as one of the viaducts of the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway. It was completed in 2010 to serve train traffic. The longest span is 108 meters. The bridge allows the connection of the two major economic zones in China. The railway is also known as the Jinghu High-Speed Railway and is the longest high-speed train line ever built in a single phase. Travel time between the two points is four hours and 48 minutes, including one stop at Nanjing.
4. Bang Na Expressway, Thailand – 54,000 meters
The Bang Na Expressway is considered to be the longest road bridge in the world. It was completed in 2000 to serve vehicular traffic. It is unique in that it does not really cross a body of water for most of its length except for the part that traverses Bang Pakong River. The viaduct has an average span length of 42 meters. It took 1.8 million cubic meters of concrete to finish the bridge.
3. Weinan Weihe Grand Bridge, China – 79,732 meters
The Weinan Weihe Grand Bridge was completed in 2008 to serve train traffic. Its longest span measures only 80 meters. It is part of the Zhengzhou-Xi’an High-Speed Railway. The bridge crosses the Wei River twice, along with a lot of other rivers, highways and railways. The railway line however opened only in 2010. It is considered to be just one of the segments of the planned Xulan Passenger Dedicated Line, a high-speed train service that will connect Lanzhou with Xuzhou. It will serve as an alternative to the existing Longhai Railway line. It will serve the densely populated section of China between the regional centers of Zhengzhou and Xi’an, where an estimated 100 million people live.
2. Tianjin Grand Bridge, China – 113,700 meters
The Tianjin Grand Bridge is part of the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway. It is a viaduct that was completed in 2010 to serve train traffic. The bridge runs between the towns of Langfang and Qingzian. Construction of the bridge began in 2006 and took four years to complete. The main location of the bridge is the town of Hebei in Tianjin.
1. Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge – 164,800 meters
The Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge is, by far, the longest bridge in the world. Its length difference to the second longest bridge in the world is enough to make it the fifth longest bridge in the world. It is a viaduct completed in 2010 to serve train traffic. It is part of the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway. The bridge is located between Shanghai and Nanjing in the province of Jiangsu.