Bridges are the structures that allow us to cross over physical obstacles to get from one place to another.
They are necessary, practicable, and often spectacular.
Amazing bridges exist all over the world, with different designs and materials used to meet specific requirements.
We love bridges not only for their design/aesthetic but also for the engineering behind the spectacle. Here are a few of our favorite bridges from around the world.
Millau Viaduct (France)
The Millau Viaduct is the tallest bridge in the world, taller than the Eiffel tower, making it the tallest structure in France. It is a cable-stayed bridge with a height of 1,125 feet and a length of 8,071 feet. It was completed in 2004 and is renowned for its design, which was considered impossible to construct in the beginning. With that said, the bridge took about three years to construct and is considered one of the greatest achievements in engineering.
The bridge rests on seven concrete piers that are rooted in four reinforced concrete shafts. Project engineers sunk the piers deep into the valley bedrock and covered them with more reinforced concrete. The deck itself was made of steel, rather than concrete, to add additional structural support. The masts above the roadway were constructed as whole units, then tilted into place and attached the deck. Eight massive steel cables connect the mast of the deck in each direction. The bridge was constructed to solve a traffic problem and now allows the A75 to provide a direct, high-speed route from Paris to the Mediterranean coast.
Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge (China)
The Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge is a skywalk bridge that opened in August 2016. It is recognized as the world’s longest and tallest glass-bottomed bridge in the world, at a length of 1,410 feet and a height of 984 feet. To construct the bridge, project engineers built four support pillars on the edges of the walls of the canyon. The Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge is made of a metal frame with more than 120 glass panels, each being a three-layered and two-inch-thick slab of tempered glass.
The bridge was built to be an attraction for tourists and was designed to carry up to 800 visitors at one time. It gives visitors the ability to enjoy an incredible panoramic view of the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon and visitors can also take a 935-foot bungee-jump off of the bridge, the highest bungee jump in the world.
Ponte Vecchio (Italy)
The Ponte Vecchio is a medieval bridge that lives over the Arno River in Florence, Italy. The bridge first appeared in a document from 996, making it the first-ever bridge in Florence. The bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1117, rebuilt, and then destroyed again in 1333. Thankfully, however, the current version of the bridge has been standing strong ever since it was reconstructed in 1345.
The Ponte Vecchio is partly famous for being home to a number of shops since the 13th century. Originally, there were all types of shops like butchers and fishmongers, but since 1593, only goldsmiths and jewelers have been allowed to have their shops in the bridge. The Ponte Vecchio is Europe’s oldest, wholly-stone, closed-spandrel, segmental arch bridge. This bridge is one of the greatest and most historic icons of Florence, and is one of the most famous and beloved bridges in the world, with good reason.
Langkawi Sky Bridge (Malaysia)
The Langkawi Sky Bridge is a curved pedestrian cable-stayed bridge in Malaysia that was completed in 2005. It is located at the peak of Mt. Mat Cincang, 2,300 feet above sea level, and 410 feet above the ground.
The bridge was pre-fabricated, and then piece by piece, sections were lifted to the top of the mountain with the help of helicopters. The only way visitors can reach the Langkawi Sky Bridge is by taking a cable car ride up to the mountain top. It is known for being one of the tallest pedestrian bridges in the world, and the views from above are nothing shy of astounding.
Rolling Bridge (London)
This unique bridge located in London was completed in 2004 and is the only bridge of its kind in the world. The Rolling Bridge curls up to let boats pass and uncoils again to spread across a small canal, allowing pedestrians to cross. Its curling motion that extends and retracts the bridge over the canal is an organic motion, like a caterpillar curling up.
The Rolling Bridge is 39 feet long and consists of 8 triangular sections. When activated, hydraulic rams set into the bridge’s balustrade cause the triangular sections to lift up and close in together in near silence, eventually forming an octagon once fully retracted. It is a true work of art.
We Build Bridges, Too
Does your community’s transportation infrastructure need a facelift? We can help!
From the largest interstate systems to local township roads and bridges, ms consultants develops transportation solutions of all types and sizes. Our experts understand the importance of working closely with local government, public stakeholders, project owners, and environmental regulatory agencies to ensure a seamless and successful project. By collaborating throughout the project, our internal highway, structural, traffic, and environmental engineers deliver innovative, cost-effective, and long-term transportation solutions. Big or small, our experts can improve your community’s transportation infrastructure.
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