7 Iconic Bridges to Drive Across
Bridges are not just there to get you from A to B. They are great feats of engineering, beautiful to behold and can be a joy to photograph. Making your way over an iconic bridge can give you the ‘I am actually here’ moment.
These monuments of human ingenuity are some of the most photographed and Instagrammed locations in the world, beating many natural wonders and famous buildings.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most recognisable bridges in the world, and the most photographed in the USA. One of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, the Golden Gate Bridge was opened in 1937.
Standing at 746 feet tall, this iconic, 1.7-mile structure links San Francisco to the Marin Headlands. It took four years to build, cost $35 million and 11 men lost their lives during construction. Today, around 112,000 vehicles cross the Golden Gate Bridge every day.
Did you know? The US Navy wanted to paint it gold with black stripes, so it would be a great big caution sign for ships — luckily this plan was scrapped.
The Confederation Bridge, Canada
The Confederation Bridge is the world’s longest bridge crossing ice-covered water. Spanning 12.9 kilometres (8 miles), this feat of 20th century engineering links the Eastern Canadian province of Prince Edward Island to the mainland at New Brunswick.
When the bridge was first proposed in the 1980s, it caused controversy. In the end, the Premier of Prince Edward Island put it to a vote in 1988, and 59.4% of the islanders voted yes.
Opened on May 31st 1997, it took four years, C$1.3 billion and 5,000 local workers to build the bridge. Today, it is considered one of the most scenic bridges in Canada.
Did you know? You only have to pay the hefty toll when you leave Prince Edward Island, not when you enter.
Millau Viaduct, France
The Millau Viaduct is the tallest bridge in the world — it’s even taller than the Eiffel tower. The Viaduct rises 343 metres (1,125 feet) into the air, and is 2,460 metres long (1.5 miles).
It links Clermont-Ferrand, Béziers and Narbonne, and is considered the least congested route between Paris and the Mediterranean. The viaduct opened to traffic on December 16th 2004, and was designed by Sir Norman Foster.
Did you know? There is a viewing area and visitor centre with Michelin-star quality food, where you can take in the full beauty of the Millau Viaduct.
Tower Bridge, London
Tower Bridge, not to be confused with London Bridge, is one of the most Instagrammed locations in the UK — this iconic suspension and bascule bridge was built between 1886 and 1894.
It connects the London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Southwark. Spanning the Thames, the structure is 800 feet (244 metres) long and each tower is 231 feet (65 metres) high. The bridge cost £1.1 million to build at the time, and is now used by 40,000 people every day.
Did you know? You can take a walk along the high level walkways, where you can peer through the glass floor at the cars below.
Sutong Bridge, China
The Sutong Bridge is the newest bridge on our list, and is fast becoming an iconic structure in China — winning many engineering awards. It opened to traffic on June 30th 2008, costing $1.7 billion.
Spanning 8,206 metres (5 miles) across the Yangtze River, this bridge links Nantong City to Changshu near Shanghai. The inverted 'Y' pylons are 306 metres (1003 feet) high; and 1,088 metres (0.6 miles) of the bridge are freely suspended to allow passage of large container ships. The Sutong Bridge has reduced the commute from Nantong to Shanghai by three hours.
Did you know? For four years, the Sutong Bridge was the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world. In 2012, the Russky Bridge in Eastern Russia opened and took the top spot.
Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia
One of the most recognisable and iconic bridges in the world, the Sydney Harbour bridge is locally known as the 'Coathanger'. Spanning Sydney Harbour, it was opened on May 19th 1932, and reaches a height of 134 metres (440 feet) — making it the world's tallest steel arch bridge. It took over 1,400 men eight years to build the bridge, and 16 people died during its construction.
One of the top tourist activities in Sydney is the 'Bridge Climb'. You can learn about the history of the bridge while walking to its summit; and you can even tie the knot while standing at its apex.
Did you know? 70,000 tons of fireworks are placed on the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Cornish-Windsor Bridge, USA
This little bridge may not be as striking as the other glinting steel and cable structures on this list — however, the Cornish-Windsor Bridge is the most charming and quirky structure.
New England has scores of covered bridges, giving drivers the opportunity to feel like they are going back in time. Connecting the town of Cornish in the state of New Hampshire with Windsor in Vermont, this bridge, at 204 feet (62 metres) in length, is the longest wooden covered bridge open to cars in the US.
The towns on either side of this picturesque crossing exude a traditional New England charm, and are well worth a visit.
Did you know? The Cornish-Windsor Bridge was constructed in 1866 at a cost of $9,000.
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