The 11 Longest Bridges in the World

Tantalizing to some, terrifying to others, a long bridge over water is undoubtedly an engineering marvel.

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Vasco da Gama Bridge at sunrise in Lisbon, Portugal
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Feats of human 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 miles of tricky terrain, on a train or in a car, exist across the globe.

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supertrain on Concrete Bridge,at The southeast coast of China

The Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge

At 164 kilometres 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.

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Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge
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Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge

China is also home to the longest bridge in the world made of glass—1,400 feet in length and 980 feet above China’s Grand Canyon. Even though wearing booties are mandatory to protect the bridge’s 99 panels of nearly 24-inch thick glass, many people still wear their shoes (here’s looking at you, scuff marks).

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Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
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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 38 kilometre-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!

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Vasco da Gama Bridge over the River Tagus
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The Vasco da Gama Bridge

The longest bridge in Europe, found east of Lisbon, Portugal, took more than 3,000 workers and 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 17 kilometres 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.

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Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge with no people

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.”

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Millau Viaduct
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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. You’ll likely travel on the Millau Viaduct during a grand European road trip through France and Spain—here are some of the best road trips in Canada.

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Chesapeake Bay Bridge - Virginia Beach side

Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

Part bridge, part tunnel, this 28-kilometre 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.”

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Atchafalaya Basin Bridge, also called the Louisiana Airborne Memorial Bridge, stretches over the water of Atchafalaya Basin and runs from Lafayette to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Atchafalaya Basin Bridge

The twin bridge that spans the largest river swamp in the United States opened in 1973. Drivers and passengers alike are afforded stellar views of Louisiana’s wetlands from Interstate 10 during the 29-kilometre stretch.

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bang na thailand bridge

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 54 kilometres, 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 100 feet above another stretch of road, National Highway Route 34.

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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 nearly 13,000 feet in length, it is longer than four Brooklyn Bridges, but its length is only part of the story. According to PBS, the two towers of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, rising 928 feet, “are higher than any other bridge towers in the world.”

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The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge
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Hong Kong Zhuhai Macao Bridge

What does $20 billion get you in the 21st-century bridge market? A huge 55-kilometre 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 fall of 2018.

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest