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World's Longest Bridges

World's Longest Bridges: Akashi Kaikyo

GYRO PHOTOGRAPHY/amanaimages/Corbis

Longest Suspension Bridge Span:
Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, Kobe, Japan

Length: 6,532 ft.

Before this steel behemoth bridged the Akashi Strait that separates Kobe from Iwaya, severe storms in the area would routinely sink ferries. Not that the world’s longest suspension bridge has it any easier: every day, 23,000 cars pass over a structure that must withstand earthquakes (a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit in 1995), consistently strong tidal currents (9 knots), and wind gusts up to 179 mph. Completed in 1998, the record-setting central span 213 feet above the sea makes up over half its total 12,831-foot length; by comparison, the Golden Gate’s central span is only 4,200 feet. For an up-close-and-personal (and gut-dropping) view, bridge tours take visitors to the top of one of the towers. jb-honshi.co.jp

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