Anyone with long road trip experience can appreciate the small details on the way that break the incessant monotony. Toll booths, rest areas with unusual fast food outlets, bad drivers, a good song on the radio or even a herd of cows will suffice to spice up the journey.
A bridge normally elicits a glance and perhaps a sigh of relief, once the car arrives safely on the other side. Some bridges however, cause drivers and passengers to gape in amazement and break out the digital camera. These are the best of the best, bridges that break the mold and blaze new trails in structural achievement. Without further ado, here are 10 Awesome Bridges Around the World.
The Bosphorus has a claim to fame that no other bridge in the world can challenge. Perhaps one day the powers that be will erect a colossal link between Russia and Alaska across the Bering Strait. Until then however, only Turkey can boast of a bridge that connects two continents: in this case, Asia and Europe.
China seems bent on squashing all previous engineering feats. From skyscrapers to airports, the country is in an unprecedented uber-construction phase. The Hangzhou Bay Bridge is just one extreme example of the hyper growth. The super-structure that links Shanghai with Ningbo is the longest trans-oceanic bridge in the world.
One of the most unusual bridges and a tribute to steely modernity, the Millau Viaduct soars above the valley of the Tarn River in southern France. Drivers prone to vertigo in the face of acute height would be wise to take a more circuitous route. The Millau beats out the Eiffel Tower and is the current record-holder for road-bridge height.
One of the most iconic bridges in the United States – the Brooklyn Bridge is in a similar class – the Golden Gate Bridge is the emblem of San Francisco and indeed, the state California. The suspension bridge spans the conflux of San Francisco Bay with the ocean and although built in 1937, endures as a favourite with architects today.
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Residents of lovely Rotterdam in The Netherlands once had much less attractive methods by which to cross the Nieuwe Mass River to reach the other half of the city. Since 1996 that is no longer the case. The Erasmus Bridge has been a beacon on the Dutch landscape from day one. Upon completion, “The Swan” became an instant architectural icon.
The most notable Medieval bridge still subject to daily use, the Ponte Vecchio is one of the grand symbols of Florence. Cross the Arno River on the Ponte and gaze at the curio dealers and jewelers who hawk wares much in the same fashion as was done hundreds of years ago. There are few marvels to rival the Ponte Vecchio in the world, let alone Italy.
No other bridge in the world makes engineers drool like the Oresund. With enough space for train and vehicle traffic, the hybrid bridge-tunnel connects two phenomenal Scandinavian towns: the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen, and Malmo, Sweden. No other border span in the world is longer, or dare we say, more impressive.
The symbol of record for most in London is without question, the Tower Bridge. The bascule, or moveable, suspension bridge spans the Thames and is not London Bridge, much to the dismay of many amateur photographers. The old girl, open since 1894, still receives over 40,000 motorists a day.
Known as the Pearl Bridge, Akashi-Kaikyo is the one of the most magnificent structures in a country famous for them. The near-2 km suspension bridge holds the world record for length and links beautiful Kobe to Iwaya on Awaji Island. The cost of the bridge was an extravagant $5 billion and as a result, the over 20,000 cars that cross it daily pay $20 to do so.
If they gave an award for best tilt bridge ever in the history of the world, Gateshead Millenium would win hands down. The cyclist and pedestrian span over the River Tyne vaulted into the architecture Hall of Fame when it was erected in 2000. Even more impressive than how it looks however, is the way it allows river traffic to pass through. The bridge opens, rotates and astonishingly, mirrors a wink in the process. Fittingly, Gateshead Millenium is now affectionately called “The Blinking Eye”.