Kenny Williams / Alamy

No river is too wide for the incredible feats of engineering that are the world’s longest bridges.

Longest Floating Bridge: Evergreen Point Bridge, Seattle

5 of 24

Length: 7,580 ft.

Officially known as Governor Albert D. Rosellini Bridge (the Washington statesman who oversaw its creation in the early 1960), this section of State Route 520 connects Seattle to its eastern suburbs via a roadway that floats atop Lake Washington on 33 football field–size pontoons. The design was chosen due to the lake’s unstable bed and the curved nature of the roadway (a common problem for the area, which would explain why the state is home to four of the five largest floating bridges in the world). The aging structure is currently being replaced by a larger, even longer, more modern floating bridge that can even accommodate a light-rail system. wsdot.wa.gov

World's Longest Bridges

Longest Floating Bridge: Evergreen Point Bridge, Seattle

Length: 7,580 ft.

Officially known as Governor Albert D. Rosellini Bridge (the Washington statesman who oversaw its creation in the early 1960), this section of State Route 520 connects Seattle to its eastern suburbs via a roadway that floats atop Lake Washington on 33 football field–size pontoons. The design was chosen due to the lake’s unstable bed and the curved nature of the roadway (a common problem for the area, which would explain why the state is home to four of the five largest floating bridges in the world). The aging structure is currently being replaced by a larger, even longer, more modern floating bridge that can even accommodate a light-rail system. wsdot.wa.gov

Kenny Williams / Alamy

World's Longest Bridges

If you ever find yourself in Hunan, China, rent a car and drive the Jishou-Chadong Expressway: 18 tunnels under the Wuling mountains that culminate at the Aizhai Bridge, a gut-churning 1,150-foot-high suspension bridge over the Dehang Canyon. It’s a man-made wonder, the world’s highest (and maybe even scariest) tunnel-to-tunnel bridge—and yet it ranks only 15th among the world’s longest suspension bridges.

For the thrill of seeing No. 1, you’d need to head to Kobe, Japan, and marvel at the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge. But in the race to build the biggest and baddest bridges of them all, record-hungry China tends to dominate in hard stats; five out of the top 10 suspension bridges are there, for instance. So instead of a China-heavy list of bridges, we’ve focused on a variety of categories, from covered bridges to pontoon floaters, to bring you a diverse cross section of the longest.

Take the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. It may not be the longest bridge over water—Guinness bestows that honor on China’s 25.84-mile-long Jiaozhou Bay Bridge project—but it has the longest continuous stretch over water: 24 miles of roadway easily trumping Jiaozhou’s 16.1 miles once any overland portions are omitted. To us, that’s the essence of the bridge.

For bridges such as suspension and arch, we didn’t look at total length either, but instead opted for the common engineering practice of ranking by span length. Experts agree a larger span indicates greater technological prowess.

From the ice roads of Arctic Alaska to a cable-stayed controversy on the other side of the Bering Strait—stretching over cities, seas, and even the jungle canopy—the world’s longest bridges exist on a scale that can only be described as stupefying. Be sure to gas up before you take them on.

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