Bridges have existed for thousands of years, and are a vital architectural development which allows for ease of transport and goods over valleys, rivers, lakes and oceans. As technologies have advanced, the length of bridges has increased, to a point where more and more land masses can be easily connected via land and ground travel. Many of the longest bridges in the world reside in China, with seven of the top ten bridges being Chinese. Here, we look at the top ten longest bridges in the world.
- Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge
- Changhua-Kaohsiung Viaduct
- Cangde Grand Bridge
- Tianjin Grand Bridge
- Weinan Weihe Grand Bridge
- Bang Na Expressway
- Beijing Grand Bridge, China
- Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
- Line 1 Wuhan Metro
- Manchac Swamp Bridge
1. Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge, China - 164,800 m
The Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge measures just under 165 kilometers in length and was opened in 2011. This bridge is a railway bridge which connects Shanghai to Nanjing, in China’s Jiangsu province. The bridge itself spans the Yangtze River delta, and carries the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway from Danyang to Kunshan. Danyang-Kunshan is a viaduct style bridge, meaning it consists of a series of arches and/or columns that support a long elevated transport way (in this case, a railway). Due to its location and its immense length, it was important that this bridge be able to withstand any potential natural disasters or harsh weather. As a result, the bridge was made to withstand magnitude 8 earthquakes, typhoon winds and rain, and a naval vessel weighing up to 300,000 tons.
2. Changhua-Kaohsiung Viaduct - 157,317 m
Changhua-Kaosiung is another viaduct style railway bridge, also located in China. It is the world's second longest bridge and measures 157 kilometers in length. The bridge carries the Taiwan High Speed Rail line and crosses from Baguashan, in Changhua county, to Zuoying, in Kaohsiung. The Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi, and Tainan stations are all built along this viaduct. Construction of the bridge finished in 2004. Due to the seismic activity in the region, the bridge had to be made to be able to withstand earthquakes. Though not indestructible, the bridge should be able to withstand most earthquakes, allowing for trains to stop if seismic activity occurs.
3. Cangde Grand Bridge - 115,900 m
The third longest bridge, Cangde Grand Bridge, is also located in China. This bridge measures 105.8 kilometers in length, and is part of the Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway. The bridge has a total of 3,092 piers which support its immense length. The bridge was completed in 2010, and serves as a main form of transport from Beijing.
4. Tianjin Grand Bridge - 113,700 m
Like many on this list, the Tianjin Grand Bridge is also a railway viaduct bridge. It is located in Hebei, in Tianjin, China and measures 113.7 kilometers in length. The bridge officially opened in 2011, and was the second longest bridge in the world at the time (now fourth). The bridge is made up of a series of 32 metre long box girder supports, weighing 860 tons each. This structure and design was chosen as it takes up less land area, and was a faster form of construction.
5. Weinan Weihe Grand Bridge - 79,732 m
Yet another Chinese rail bridge claims the number five spot on the list of longest bridges in the world. The Weinan Weihe Grand Bridge measures just shy of 80 kilometers in length, and is part of the Zhengzhou–Xi'an High-Speed Railway system. This line connects Zhengzhou and Xi'an. The bridge itself crosses over the Wei river twice, as well as several other smaller rivers, including Ling river, Luofu river, Xi river, and Shi Di river. The bridge was completed in 2008, and at that time it was the longest bridge in the world.
6. Bang Na Expressway - 54,000 m
The Bang Na Expressway, also known as Burapha Withi Expressway, is a six lane elevated highway in Thailand. The bridge itself measures 55 kilometers in length, and is the world’s longest car bridge. The bridge does have toll stations at either end, where the six lane roadway expands to a 12 lane toll path. This bridge does not cross any bodies of water, but rather spans the Bang Na–Trat Highway (or National Highway route 34). The structure is made up of 27 meter wide box girders, with an average span of 42 metres.
7. Beijing Grand Bridge, China - 48,153 m
The Beijing Grand Bridge is a 48 kilometer long viaduct railway bridge which, like the Danyang-Kunshan, carries the Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway, and connects the two major cities. This bridge officially opened for rail traffic in 2011, and was completed the year before. As it is located just south of Beijing, it is generally the start or end of most trips on the Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway.
8. Lake Pontchartrain Causeway - 38,442 m
The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is located in Louisiana, United States, and measures 38.4 kilometers in length. The Causeway is made up of two parallel bridges, almost the same length, which cross Lake Pontchartrain from Metairie to Mandeville. This bridge, though the eight longest in the world, does hold the record for the longest continuous bridge over water. The bridge is made up of 9,500 concrete pilings, and has a bascule in the middle to allow for taller ships to pass underneath it. The first of the two bridges opened in 1956, with the second being completed in 1969.
9. Line 1 Wuhan Metro - 37,788 m
Line 1 is the name given to an elevated metro line in the city of Wuhan, Hubei. While it is the ninth longest bridge in the world, it is also the longest continuous metro viaduct in the world. The line measures 38 kilometers in length, and contains two tracks, and 32 different rail stations. The line opened in 2004, and was the fifth city in China to have such a metro line (the others being major cities Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Guangzhou).
10. Manchac Swamp Bridge - 36,710 m
Like the Causeway, the Manchac Swamp Bridge is also located in Louisiana. It is a a twin concrete trestle bridge which runs from St. John the Baptist Parish to Tangipahoa Parish, across the Manchac Swamp. The bridge itself measures 36.7 kilometers in length and is the longest bridge on the Interstate Highway System, carrying Interstate 55 and U.S. Route 51. The bridge was opened in 1979.
From railway viaducts to trestle bridges, these longest bridges in the world are impressive examples of construction and infrastructure, improving transport systems and commutes around the world.