Man began to build bridges thousands of years ago to help navigate the world. Today technology has evolved from then wooden and boulder based bridges and it is now time to take a look at the five longest bridges in the world today.
5. Beijing Grand Bridge
At number five we have the Beijing Grand Bridge located in, you guessed it, Beijing, China. The bridge serves as a railway viaduct and runs a total of over 48 kilometers (almost 30 miles). It is the first part of the Beijing-Shanghai railway that spans a total of 1,318 km (819 mi). The Beijing Grand Bridge was completed in 2010 with the rest of the railway.
4. Bang Na Expressway
Our next stop is in Thailand. The Bang Na Expressway is a toll route constructed above ground level to ease the traffic between Bang Na and Bang Pakong. Opened to the public in 2000 the viaduct is 54 km (34mi) long earning its fourth spot in our countdown. When completed in 2000 the viaduct also claimed the title of the longest bridge in the world at that time beating the previous record holder, Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, by more than 15 km.
3. Weinan Weihe Grand Bridge
Number three takes us back to China and the Weinan Weihe Grand Bridge. This bridge, like the Beijing Grand, is a high-speed railway. Situated between Zhengzhou and Xi’an the bridge falls just shot of 80 km (50 mi). Completed in 2008, but not opened until 2010, it was for two years the longest bridge in the world taking the spotlight from our number four. The bridge crosses countless highways and rivers including the crossing of river Wei twice.
2. and 1. Tianjin Grand Bridge and the Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge
They sure build long bridges in eastern Asia, don’t they? Our countdown of the world’s longest bridges comes to an end exactly where it started with two more parts of the Beijing-Shanghai railway. As mentioned before the high-speed railway was completed in 2010. The Tianjin Grand Bridge takes the second spot in our countdown with a total length of just over 113 km (70 mi). As for the winner of the countdown the Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge is the final major part of the railway coming to an end on the outskirts of Shanghai. The full length of the Grand Bridge, title fully deserved, is a whopping 164.8 kilometers (102.4 mi) beating its baby brother by a considerable amount.
As one can easily notice, the countdown is very much dominated by this massive railway connecting the two major economical parts of China. Amazingly the construction of this massive project only took about two years beginning in April 2008 and reaching its checkered flag in November 2010, although finishing touches were added for over a year after that. A reported amount of over 130,000 people worked on the project that cost over 16 billion US dollars.
The bridge with the longest main span is the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge. Crossing Lake Washington from Seattle to Medina the bridge is almost 5 km long with a main span of 2,310 meters. To put this into perspective the bridges in our main countdown have a main span of no more than 108 meters (354 ft).
The longest bridge in Africa is located between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Opened to the public in 1986 the King Fahd Causeway is 25 kilometers long viaduct. The main purpose of building this bridge was to enforce the relationship between the two countries.
The longest bridge still in use in Europe is the Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon, Portugal. The total length of this bridge crossing the Tagus River is 17.2 kilometers (10.7 mi) with a main span of 0.8 km (0.5 mi). Opened to the traffic in 1998 the bridge became the longest one in Europe overtaking the 12-kilometer-long Emsland test facility bridge in Germany.