Since time immemorial, human beings have been using bridges to facilitate their movement from one place to another. Bridges are used to cross waterways and valleys to shorten distances and to reduce the traveling duration. Bridges built throughout North America vary in lengths, materials used, and designs.
Longest Bridges in North America
Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
Also simply known as the Causeway, Lake Pontchartrain Causeway comprises of two parallel bridges that cross Lake Pontchartrain in the southern region of the US state of Louisiana. With a length of 126,122 feet, the Causeway is the longest bridge in North America. The Causeway's southern terminus is located in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans, Louisiana while the northern terminus is located in Mandeville, Louisiana. Lake Pontchartrain Causeway has been listed as the world's longest bridge over water by the Guinness Book of Records since 1969. However, following the opening of China's Jiaozhou Bay Bridge in 2011, which is longer, Guinness established two categories for bridges over water. The two categories are aggregate and continuous lengths over water. The Causeway is, therefore, the world's longest continuous bridge over water.
Manchac Swamp Bridge
With a total length of 120,440 feet, the Manchac Swamp Bridge is a twin concrete trestle bridge located in the US state of Louisiana. The Manchac Swamp bridge was opened in 1979 and is among the world's longest bridges over water and the second longest in North America. Other sources claim that Manchac Swamp Bridge is the world's longest toll-free road bridge. The bridge which carries Interstate 55 represents about one-third of the highway's estimated 66 miles.
Atchafalaya Basin Bridge
The Atchafalaya Basin Bridge was opened in 1973. It is a pair of parallel bridges also referred to as the Louisiana Airborne Memorial Bridge. The bridge is located between Lafayette and Baton Rouge in the US state of Louisiana. The Atchafalaya Basin Bridge is the third longest bridge in the US with a length of 96,100 feet, the second longest bridge on the interstate system and also the world's 14th longest by total length. Accidents near the two river crossings are a frequent occurrence as the crossings lack shoulders and are quite narrow.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
With a length of 79,200 feet, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel abbreviated as CBBT is a bridge-tunnel crossing located in the US state of Virginia at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. The bridge acts as a link between Virginia Beach, a part of the metropolitan area of the Hampton Roads with the Northampton County located on the Delmarva Peninsula. The bridge-tunnel which was opened on April 15th, 1964, is among the world's only ten bridge-tunnel systems, three of which can be found in Hampton Roads, Virginia.
Other Long Bridges In North America
Since there is no standard way of measuring the total length of a bridge, some bridges are measured from shoreline to shoreline, and others are measured from end of the exit ramp to the start of the entrance ramp while others are measured by the length of the total construction. Of the top 15 longest bridges in North America 14 are located in the US while only one, known as the Confederation Bridge, is located in Canada. The top three longest bridges in North America are all found in the US state of Louisiana.
Longest Bridges in North America
|Rank||Bridge Name||Location||Length (Feet)|
|1||Lake Pontcartrain Causeway||United States||126,122|
|2||Manchac Swamp Bridge||United States||120,440|
|3||Atchafalaya Basin Bridge||United States||96,100|
|4||Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel||United States||79,200|
|5||Bonnet Carre Spillway Bridge||United States||58,077|
|6||Louisiana Highway 1 Bridge||United States||43,600|
|8||Jubilee Parkway||United States||42,241|
|9||San Mateo-Hayward Bridge||United States||36,959|
|10||Seven Mile Bridge||United States||35,719|
|11||General W.K. Wilson Jr. Bridge||United States||32,106|
|12||Norfolk Southern Lake Pontchartrain Bridge||United States||30,500|
|13||Chacahoula Swamp Bridge||United States||29,554|
|14||Frank Davins Memorial Bridge||United States||29,039|
|15||Richmond-San Rafael Bridge||United States||29,039|
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
Your MLA Citation
Your APA Citation
Your Chicago Citation
Your Harvard CitationRemember to italicize the title of this article in your Harvard citation.