Ten Most Amazing Bridges
October 29, 2008
Banpo Bridge (South Korea): The Fountain Bridge
On September 9, 2008, the Banpo Bridge in Seoul (South Korea) got a major facelift: a 10,000-nozzle fountain that runs all the way along both its sides. Immediately after being installed, the bridge turned into a major tourist attraction, as the bridge pumps out 190 tons of water per minute using the water from the river below.
Millau Bridge (France): World’s Tallest Vehicular Bridge
Towering 1,125ft above the Tarn Valley in southern France, driving along the Millau Bridge is said to feel like flying. This Foster + Partners marvel is slightly taller than the Eiffel Tower, took three years to build and opened to the public in 2004. While it may provide picturesque views of the valley below, once the mist descends it is not a route for the faint hearted! The Millau Bridge has a total length of 8,071ft with the longest single span at 1,122ft and a maximum clearance below of 886ft; in short the bridge is massively impressive both on paper and in real life. The deck is lofted on 7 pylons and weighs 36,000 tonnes. A series of 7 masts, each 292ft tall and weighing 700 tonnes, are attached to the corresponding pylons.
Henderson Waves (Singapore): Most Beautiful Pedestrian Bridge
At a height of 36 metres or 12 storeys from the road, the Henderson Waves it’s the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. The 300-metre bridge links up the parks at Mount Faber and Telok Blangah Hill.
Hangzhou Bay Bridge (China): World’s Longest Trans-Oceanic Bridge
Across the Hangzhou Bay extends the longest trans-oceanic bridge in the world, with 35.673 kilometres (22 mi) long with six expressway lanes in two directions. The bridge was built to address traffic congestion in the booming region, cutting the driving time between Shanghai and Ningbo from four to two-and-a-half hours.
The bridge underwent various feasibility studies for a decade before it was approved in 2003, and finally opened to the public on May 1, 2008. Total investment on the bridge was RMB 11.8 billion (around US$ 1.4 billion).
Rolling Bridge (UK): The Bridge that Curls Up on Itself
Designed by Heatherwick Studio, the award-winning Rolling Bridge is located Paddington Basin, London. Rather than a conventional opening bridge mechanism, consisting of a single rigid element that lifts to let boats pass, the Rolling Bridge gets out of the way by curling up until its two ends touch. While in its horizontal position, the bridge is a normal, inconspicuous steel and timber footbridge; fully open, it forms a circle on one bank of the water that bears little resemblance to its former self.
Twelve metres long, the bridge is made in eight steel and timber sections, and is made to curl by hydraulic rams set into the handrail between each section.
Oliveira Bridge (Brazil): World’s First X-shaped Cable Stayed Bridge with two crossed lanes
The Octavio Frias de Oliveira Bridge over the Pinheiros River in São Paulo, Brazil was opened in May 2008. It is 138 metres (450 ft) tall, and connects Marginal Pinheiros to Jornalista Roberto Marinho Avenue. It’s design is unique in that the 2 curved decks of the bridge cross each other through its X-shaped supporting tower.
Wind and Rain Bridge (China): Dong people’s bridge
The Wind and Rain Bridge is the symbolized architecture of the Dong minority people. The wind and rain bridge in Diping is the largest of its kind in Guizhou Province, where China’s biggest Dong community lives. The bridge is over 50 meters long and it’s first built in 1894 during the Qing Dynasty over 100 years ago. However, the original structure was destroyed in a big fire in 1959 and the one visitors see today was a recreation finished in 1964.
It’s a pure wooden architecture made up of pillars, purlins and balusters of different sizes and shapes. The body of the bridge is divided to three tiers, the largest one in the middle take the shape of a traditional Chinese drum tower. The pilasters and eaves of the bridge are engraved with flowers and patterns and are quite magnificent.
Tower Bridge (UK): Most Famous and Beautiful Victorian Bridge
Completed in 1894 and designed by Horace Jones and Wolfe Barry, Tower Bridge (so named after the two, striking, 141ft high towers and the Tower of London close to it) is one of the most famous landmarks in London and one of the most beautiful in the world. The 800ft long bridge has a 28ft clearance when closed but raises in the centre to a maximum clearance of 140ft that allows ships to pass down the Thames. Back in the days when goods were moved by sea instead of air the bridge was raised around 50 times daily. Tower Bridge took 432 workers 8 years to build. During that time they sank 70,000 tonnes of concrete into 2 huge piers, lowered 2 counterbalanced bascules into place each weighing 1,000 tonnes and then clad the whole bridge in Portland stone and Cornish granite to disguise the 11,000 tonnes of steel beneath.
Magdeburg Water Bridge (Germany): Europe’s Largest Water Bridge
The Magdeburg Water Bridge connects the former East and West Germany over the Elbe River, and it was made as part of the unification project. 1 km long, the 500 million euros water bridge enables river barges to avoid a lengthy and sometimes unreliable passage along the Elbe. Shipping used to come to a halt on the stretch if the river’s water mark felt to unacceptably low levels.
Ponte Vecchio (Italy): Oldest and Most Famous of it’s kind
The Ponte Vecchio in Florence is one of the most famous tourist spots in Italy, and is thought to be the oldest wholly-stone built, segmental arch bridge in Europe, although there are many partial segments which date further back. It was originally built of wood until destroyed by floods in 1333, and twelve years later it was rebuilt using stone. Famous for its lining of shops, the bridge has housed everybody from Medieval merchants and butchers to souvenir stalls and art dealers.