12 of the world's most incredible bridges
Smart features meet beautiful designs in these innovative structures from around the globe.
Sure, the idea of a bridge is simple: Get people from point A to point B. But designing bridges is a different animal altogether, with careful calculations and aesthetic components to consider - and every now and then, a team of architects achieves something truly incredible. These bridges from all around the world epitomize such accomplishments, from visually stunning structures to environmentally conscious features.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Bridge of Strings in Jerusalem
Also known as the Chords Bridge, this bridge takes Jerusalem Light Rail's Red Line across the city and also has features that cater to pedestrians. Designed by Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava, the bridge is now a recognizable feature of the skyline. Upon the bridge's completion, Time Magazine dubbed it "Jerusalem's first shrine of modern design."
Photo: Lawrence Wee/Shutterstock
Henderson Waves in Singapore
Connecting two of Singapore's most beautiful parks, Henderson Waves is not only unique in its design: It's the highest pedestrian bridge in the island country at 118 feet above the ground. Though it's a short walk from Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park, about 0.2 miles, it offers a memorable perspective — and shelter as well.
All photos: Loz Pycock/Flickr
Rolling Bridge in London
The ingenious Rolling Bridge does exactly what its name implies: curl up when the inlet anchors a boat and roll back out for pedestrians to cross the Grand Union Canal in Paddington Basin, London. The truly unique concept was the brainchild of British designer Thomas Heatherwick. Though the bridge only uncurls on Friday afternoons, its octagonal structure makes for an intriguing sculpture during the other six days of the week.
Dragon Bridge in Vietnam
Though it looks more like a theme park ride, this gold-colored dragon is actually a six-lane highway in Da Nang, Vietnam. Every night, the Dragon Bridge lights up with more than 2,000 LED lights — and actually breathes fire. Designed by American architecture firm The Louis Berger Group, it's a functional form of entertainment with truly spectacular displays.
Nanpu Bridge in Shanghai
A fantastic nighttime spectacle, the spiral Nanpu Bridge crosses Shanghai's Huangpu River to connect the old city with the neighboring Pudong area. The circular design serves to reduce land use and meter cars' approach to the high bridge.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Moses Bridge in the Netherlands
In a moat that surrounds a 17th-century fortress at Fort de Roovre in Halsteren, the Netherlands, Dutch architects have created a bridge that takes pedestrians through the water. Made with eco-friendly materials, the Moses Bridge allows people to cross the water — without, of course, being eaten by crocodiles.
Photo: Nataliya Hora/Shutterstock
The Helix in Singapore
A dizzying pedestrian bridge that spans the Singapore River in Marina Bay, this delicate structure appears to be a strand of DNA. Designed by Australian architecture firm Cox Group, international engineering firm Arup and the Singapore-based Architects 61 firm, the Helix bridge also serves as a gathering place and an art gallery. Several viewing points offer breathtaking views of the skyline and a unique perspective on events taking place in the bay.
Falkirk Wheel in Scotland
This futuristic structure functions as a bridge as well as a boat lift, rotating 180 degrees as it carries boats via water-filled tunnels from the Forth and Clyde Canal to the Union Canal, and vice-versa. Despite its size, it only takes 1.5 kWh worth of energy to turn. The area surrounding the bridge has been dedicated to outdoor activities and educational workshops, with a water park to boot.
Photo: Kjersti Joergensen/Shutterstock
Langkawi Sky Bridge in Malaysia
This bridge will take your breath away: the Langkawi Sky Bridge on Pulau's Mount Mat Cincang is only accessible via cable car. At 2,000 feet above sea level, tourists can literally walk across the treetops and view the canopy like never before. The walkway spans more than 400 feet, with observation decks strategically placed to show off the 99-island archipelago of Langkawi in an epic panorama.
Photo: Steven Bostock/Shutterstock
Kurilpa Bridge in Australia
This gorgeous solar-powered pedestrian and bicycle bridge connects South Bank to the Central Business District in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It contributes not only to the city's artistic energy but also its actual energy. Its 84 solar panels, which can generate about 100 kWh per day, are connected to the city's power grid - so excess power can go back into the grid. Kurilpa Bridge connects the city to one of Australia's main art hubs, the Queensland Cultural Centre, and fittingly so: the bridge itself is an art display, outfitted with a dazzling system of LED lights (powered, of course, by the solar panels).
The 520 Bridge in Seattle, Washington, from a view of about 1,500 feet up. (Photo: Jelson25/Wikimedia Commons)
Evergreen Point Floating Bridge in Seattle
The world's longest floating bridge, Evergreen Point Floating Bridge (also known as the Governor Albert D. Rosellini Bridge - Evergreen Point) crosses 1.4 miles over some of the deepest parts of Lake Washington. Supported by 33 bridge pontoons and 62 anchors, the "520 Bridge" connects SR 520 to Seattle. Opened in 1963, the bridge is nearing the end of its life as officials are beginning construction on a replacement.
Econtainer Bridge in Ariel Sharon Park
Designed to be made out of used shipping containers, the soon-to-be-built Econtainer Bridge will connect Israel's Route 461 to Ariel Sharon Park. The park itself emphasizes harmony between urban lifestyles and ecology - so naturally, this sustainable design won the contest to become the "gateway" to the park. Perfect for pedestrians, bikers and shuttles, the modular bridge will span 525 feet with plenty of space for folks to admire the scenery. And if that wasn't impressive enough for nature-lovers, the bridge will also feature photovoltaic solar cells which will illuminate the bridge and the surrounding area.
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