Travel Tips

11 of the longest bridges in the world - not including the Harbour Bridge

11 of the longest bridges in the world - not including the Harbour Bridge

Human feats of wonder

While most of the longest bridges in the world exist in Asia and the United States, engineering marvels that allow travellers to pass over large bodies of water and/or kilometres of tricky terrain, on a train or in a car, exist across the globe.

The Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge

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At 164.8km 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 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

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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 60cm thick glass. Tourists flock to walk the 427m long glass bridge that sits 299m above China’s Grand Canyon.

Hong Kong Zhuhai Macao Bridge

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=What does $20 billion get you in the 21st-century bridge market? A huge 54.7km bridge connecting Hong Kong and Zhuhai/Macau. Commuting between those cities would previously have required an hour-long ferry ride, according to CNN. The newest world’s largest sea-crossing bridge, with immigration offices and border control at either end (because Hong Kong and Macau are governed under different laws), took nine years to build and opened in the autumn of 2018.

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway

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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 39km-long bridge is the longest bridge in the world that’s not in Asia. It’ll cost you $5 to go southbound on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.

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 travellers couldn’t see the other side. Spanning an impressive 17km 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. Gama was the first European to reach India by sea, from the Atlantic Ocean,” reports Civitatis’ Lisbon travel guide.

Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, Switzerland

In Switzerland, you’ll find a 494m 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 2460m, 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 28.3-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 30km 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 53.9km, 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 metres of concrete, according to Road Traffic Technology, and instead of a sea or lake, rises nearly 30.4 metres above another stretch of road, National Highway Route 34.

Akashi Kaikyo Bridge

Rising high above the Akashi Strait, and connecting the city of Kobe with Awaji Island in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture, is the longest spanning suspension bridge in the world. At 3,911m in length, its length is only part of the story. According to PBS, the two towers of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, rising 283m, “are higher than any other bridge towers in the world.”

Written by Jeff Bogle. This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine,  here’s our best subscription offer.