Architectural Masterpiece: 7 Longest Bridges in the USA
The USA is ranked 4th in the world in terms of area. Despite the relatively young age, its infrastructure and economy occupy the 5th place in the global arena! It has 16 large cities with modern architecture, which includes skyscrapers, parks and, of course, bridges.
The country is rich in rivers and lakes, as well as straits, marshes and bays. Bridges in the USA are so diverse in design, height and length that they naturally arouse interest among tourists. There are about 50 large and interesting bridges in the United States, but which ones are the longest?
Here’s the list of the longest bridges in the USA. You can choose at least one of them to drive across during your next trip to America. If you need a car rental, AVR rentals is ready to provide it anywhere in the country.
Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
The Guinness Book of Records called Lake Pontchartrain in South Louisiana the longest water bridge in the world. The bridge is so long that even at a distance of 8 miles from the coast it’s impossible to see the land in which direction you wouldn’t look – the total length of the bridge is 24 miles.
Two parallels of the bridge are made from pre-stressed panels that support more than 9 thousand concrete pillars. The first lane of the bridge was opened in 1956, and the second in 1969. As a result, there are two fenced one-way lanes in a straight line, at a distance of 80 feet between them. They are interconnected by seven crossings, which serve as places for emergency and urgent stops for cars.
Driving across Lake Pontchartrain Causeway also means admiring one of the most beautiful places in the country.
Manchac Swamp Bridge
This bridge was built in 1979 and its total length is 22.8 miles. Also, Interstate 55 highway runs across the Manchac Swamp in Louisiana, which makes up a third of the nearly 66-mile-long highway in the state.
The previous Manchac Bridge collapsed in 1976. As a result of the collision of the barge with the bridge, a significant part of the structure, along which Interstate 51 highway was destroyed. This incident led to the fall of three cars in the water, and only two people managed to be saved.
Atchafalaya Basin Bridge
Stretching for over 18 miles, the bridge over the Atchafalaya Basin near Los Angeles is a pair of parallel bridges that connect Baton Rouge and Lafayette, and along which Interstate 10 highway runs. After being renamed in 1989, its second name is Louisiana Airborne Memorial Air Bridge.
The average daily traffic on the bridge is 24,540 cars. According to the National Association of Motorists, accidents are quite common on the bridge, especially at the crossroads of two rivers, as they are both very narrow and there’s not enough space for maneuvers.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
The bridge-tunnel is introduced with four 20-miles-long lanes of the toll highway that crosses the lower part of the strait, and along which Interstate 13 highway runs. This is the main expressway on the east coast of Virginia, and the only one that directly connects the east coast of Virginia and South Hampton Rhodes.
Immediately after the opening on April 15, 1964, the bridge was considered to be one of the ‘Seven Engineering Wonders of the World’. It consists of 12 miles of overpass, two 1-mile tunnels, 4 artificial islands, 4 high-water bridges, about 2-mile dam and 5.5 miles of access road.
The area of each island is about 5.25 acres and they are located 30 feet above the water level. Since the opening day, more than 100 million cars have crossed this bridge.
The construction process of Jubilee Parkway was completed in 1978, and the bridge itself was named after the anniversary of the event, which occurs periodically in Mobile Bay in Alabama.
The Jubilee Road is presented with a pair of parallel-running concrete bridges, along which Interstate 10 highway passes through the bay from the George Wallace Tunnel on Blakely Island, to the Spanish Fort. There are 2 lanes per bridge, giving a total of 4 lanes with the length of 7.5 miles.
Since 2001, the Alabama Department of Transportation has offered a program to extend the bridge to 8 lanes in total. However, experts report that this idea will decrease the distance between the bottom of the bridge and the water surface to 190 feet, making the passage of large ships from Port Mobile impossible.
San Mateo–Hayward Bridge
The San Mateo-Hayward Bridge is the longest bridge in the San Francisco Bay – it connects the San Francisco Peninsula with the East Bay. It was considered to be the longest bridge at the time of its opening (1929) and stretched for 7 miles. In 2000, the bridge underwent a series of serious seismic modifications to prevent damage from earthquakes.
In 2003, a program to expand the bridge coverage was implemented, as a result of which the lower overpass was expanded from 4 to 6 lanes to fit the configuration of the bridge, according to the requirements of the Bay Area Checkpoint. On average, 93 thousand cars pass across the bridge per day.
Sunshine Skyway Bridge
Built in 1987, the Sunshine Skyway suspension bridge connects the coasts of Tampa Bay and, according to the National Bridge Registry Database, has a total length of more than 6.67 km. Road is supported by 21 steel cable. Cables are covered with steel tubes 9 inches in diameter.
The forty-foot-wide roads run on both sides of the cables – this design allows drivers to fully contemplate the beautiful view of the water around.
The modern bridge was erected in place of the first one, built in 1954 and partially destroyed in 1980 as a result of a tragic collision. During a violent storm on May 9, 1980, the MV Summit Venture cargo ship rammed the southern part of the bridge connection. According to the Tampa Bay Times, more than 1 thousand feet of the bridge collapsed in the waters of the bay, resulting in the death of 35 people. Just a few days after the disaster, the Florida Department of Transportation began work on the restoration of the bridge.