Suspension Bridges: Longest Suspension Bridges in the World

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Suspension Bridges: Akashi Kaikyō Bridge

Suspension Bridges
World's Longest Suspension Bridge- Akashi Kaikyō Bridge Image of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. Courtesy of jose cruz

Suspension Bridges:Top Five Suspension Bridges in the World

The World’s longest suspension bridges are measured and compared using the clear span of unsupported road or distance between bridge towers. Commonly and for engineering reasons span distances are correlated to the height of their towers and complexity of their design and construction. Let’s get on this journey to discover these amazing constructions.

Also known as Pearl Bridge, this is a suspension bridge in Japan that crosses the Akashi Strait linking Maiko in Kobe and Iwaya in Awaji town on Awaji Island.

With 1991 meters or 6,523 feet of unsupported span, it’s the longest suspension bridge or unsupported span on a bridge in the Earth. Also known as the Pearl Bridge, is located in Japan and its construction was finished around 1998. It serves as a connection between the city of Kobe and the Awaji Island, going over the famous Akashi Strait. This suspension bridge was designed with a two-hinged stiffening girder system, allowing the structure to withstand winds of 178 mph and earthquakes measuring to 8.5 on the Richter scale. To attend the damp forces exerted on the Akashi Kaikyō bridge it has a pendulum system that operates at the resonance frequency. The two main towers of the Akashi Kaikyō are 978 ft over sea level, and due to its design the suspension bridge can expand up to 7 ft due to heating of the structure. It was designed by Honshu Shikoku Bridge Authority.

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Xihoumen Bridge

Second Longest Suspension Bridge Xihoumen Bridge. Courtesy of A. Needham.

Xihoumen Bridge, Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province, P.R.China

Built on the Zhoushan Archipielago, this bridge was completed in December 2007, but open to the public on December 2009. It has an unsupported length of 5,413 feet, and its cost was up to $363 million. It links the Jintang and Cezi Islands. It was built by Dorman Long Technology Limited.

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Great Belt Bridge

Great Belt Bridge: Second Longest Suspension Bridge
Great Belt Bridge: Second Longest Suspension Bridge Great Belt Bridge. Courtesy of hgaronfolo1984

Located between the islands of Funen and Zealand, this great suspension bridge has an unsupported length of 5,328 feet. It was designed by the Danish architectural practice Dissing+Weitling. The link replaces the ferry service which had been the primary means of crossing the Great Belt. It was built during the 1991-1998 period and E. Pihl & Søn A.S. was the general contractor in this bridge.

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Runyang Bridge

Runyang Bridge Runyang Bridge Photo. Courtesy of jimzhao001

This bridge crosses the Yangtze River in Jiangsu Province, China. It consists of two major bridges that link Zhenjiang on the south of the river and Yangzhou on the north. The bridge forms part of the Beijing-Shanghai Expressway. It's longest span has 4,890 feet between columns. The towers are 705 ft above water level, and the main span of the bridge consists of an orthotropic steel box girder that is 10 feet in depth. The deck width is 129 feet. The contractors for this project were China Road and Bridge Co. and Dorman Long Technology Limited.

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Humber Bridge

Once the Longest Suspension Bridge on Earth. Humber Bridge. Courtesy of lincolnian

Near Kingston upon Hull in England.

Located near Kingston upon Hul in England. It spans between Barton-upon-Humber on the south bank and Hessle on the north bank, connecting the East Riding of Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. The consulting engineers for the project were Freeman Fox & Partners, and the contractor was Sir William Arrol & Co. It has an unsupported span length of 4,626 feet. The towers are hollow vertical concrete columns, each 510 ft tall and the bridge is designed to tolerate constant motion and bends more than 10 ft in winds of 80 miles per hour. There is almost enough wire in the suspension cables to circle the Earth twice. It was considered the longest suspension bridge from 1981 to 1997.