When I had an incoming search for “World’s Tallest Bridge” I was excited at the prospect of doing some research on bridges. For years I have been fascinated with all shapes and sizes of bridge, a definite side effect of living in Pittsburgh, PA. There are enough bridges in that city and county that they have a whole website dedicated to them. According to that website:
Pittsburgh has 30 river bridges with an additional 29 river bridges within Allegheny County for a total of 59. Then you may start to add the many others which cross streams, ravines, roads, railroads, etc. The typically cited a figure of over 2,000 in Allegheny County apparently doesn’t include railroad bridges owned by the railroads, and only includes those over 8 feet in length.
By some counts they have the most bridges in the world, but apparently Paris might have more or less depending on how you cont. While I’m still on that topic, here are my Pittsburgh favorites:
- Fort Duquesne Bridge, nicknamed “The Bridge to Nowhere” because from 1969 to 1986 one end hung in mid-air due to complexities in attaching it to neighboring expressways and bridges.
- Roberto Clemente Memorial Bridge, Seventh Street, and Ninth Street bridges nicknamed the “Three Sisters Bridges” (more pictures)
- Smithfield Bridge
- Homestead High Level Bridge
OK, moving on from PIttsburgh to the main event, the world’s tallest bridges.
The world’s tallest bridge is France’s Millau Viaduct spanning the River Tarn. The bridge stands at an impressive 341m tall and 2,460m long. This is in fact 30m taller than the Eiffel Tower. Construction completed in late 2004. Also, the roadway of the bridge is only at 270m, while the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado has a deck at 321m.
Although, it seems this is in fact only the world’s tallest vehicular bridge, I cannot find any sources naming any other sort of bridge that is in fact taller. If someone knows, I’m dying to find out.
According to Wikipedia, the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge (1,991m) in Japan is the world’s largest suspension bridge and this is also the longest bridge span. It seems the Millau Viaduct is longer, so I’m not sure why they haven’t updated. The Messina bridge in Italy is supposed to be completed in 2011 and will have a span of 3,300m, blowing this record clean out of the water.
But what about longer bridges that aren’t suspension? Well the Second Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana is 38,422m long and crosses Lake Pontchartrain. That’s a lot longer… but doesn’t have much height.
To add one more level of complexity, the Tsing Ma Bridge in Hong Kong is the bridge with the largest rail carrying span (1,377m). So this one is really big and can handle lots of weight.
Finally, being from New England I must touch on covered bridges. The longest covered bridge crosses the St. John River in New Brunswick, Canada and is 390m. Plymouth, NH claims to have the world’s strongest bridge, Smith Covered Bridge, but I think they just made the claim and no one has challenged it…
A couple other bridges I can’t resist:
- San Diego’s Coronado Bridge – I love it because it is big, high, and has a huge curve in it.
- Prince Edward Island’s Confederation Bridge (Official Site)
- Boston’s Charles River Bridge
- Plymouth, NH’s New Bridge (unnamed to the best of my knowledge) This brige is still under contruction/destruction, but will significantly change the initial view of Plymouth.