The World's Longest Bridges | The B1M

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08:51   |   May 16, 2018


The World's Longest Bridges | The B1M
The World's Longest Bridges | The B1M thumb The World's Longest Bridges | The B1M thumb The World's Longest Bridges | The B1M thumb


  • For centuries, bridges have helped us cross geological features - such as rivers, canyons
  • or rugged terrain - and in modern times we’ve seen them integrated into cities and our infrastructure
  • networks with an almost endless array of uses.
  • From humble beginnings, these structures have grown into some of the greatest engineering
  • achievements in human history.
  • Here we look at the longest bridges in the world.
  • To develop this list, we’ve looked as the longest bridges in each of the five main bridge
  • categories and used “continuous span” to define their length. As a result, elevated
  • highways or causeways with regular supports along their lengths are not included.
  • First up is the Ikitsuki Bridge, a truss structure built in the Nagasaki Prefecture of Japan,
  • that links the island of Ikitsuki to its larger neighbour Hirado.
  • Constructed in 1991, the 400m (1,312ft) steel span bridge supports itself through a system
  • of interconnected steel beams that form the triangular trusses of its superstructure.
  • These elements carry either compressive or tensile stresses with the counteracting actions
  • on each individual member allowing the bridge to distribute weight evenly when carrying
  • dynamic loads such as vehicle traffic.
  • Being one of earliest forms of modern bridges, truss designs are often incorporated into
  • other bridges due to the considerable loads they can carry for the material they use.
  • Next we have the Pont de Quebec, or Quebec Bridge in Canada. This steel structure takes
  • the title of longest cantilever bridge in the world with its impressible 549m (1,801ft) main span.
  • Completed in 1917, the bridge was dogged with misfortune throughout its construction,
  • collapsing not once, but twice before it was opened to the public.
  • The first collapse was the result of improper calculations relating to the bridges weight
  • and overall load bearing capacity.
  • In 1907, four years after construction began, the southern
  • and central spans collapsed into the St Lawrence River, killing 75 workers.
  • After going through a re-design, a second iteration of the bridge was commissioned and
  • began construction in 1913 with an even longer central span than its predecessor.
  • This time the bridge was overseen by three engineers, including an expert who had worked
  • on Scotland’s Forth Bridge.
  • However, these precautions didn’t stop the bridge from experiencing its second disaster.
  • In 1916, the hydraulic mechanism hoisting the central span into position failed and
  • bridge fell into the river below, taking a further 13 workers with it.
  • To this day, the collapsed section still lies at the bottom of the St Lawrence River.
  • When the bridge was finally completed in 1917 - after almost two decades of construction
  • - it took the prestigious title of “world’s longest bridge”.
  • Despite losing that title in the decades that followed, the Quebec Bridge remains to
  • this day, the longest cantilever bridge in the world.
  • Arch bridges are one of the oldest types of bridge and come in a wide variety of forms.
  • From the early stone arches used by the Greeks and Roman, to the steel giants of today.
  • The longest of these, with a central span of 552m (1,811ft) is the Chaotiamen Bridge
  • in China.
  • Built in 2009 the road and rail bridge stands
  • 142m above the Yangtze river with a total length of 1,741m (5,712ft).
  • Despite varying greatly in appearance, arch bridges are all based on the same engineering
  • principle of distributing loads from the centre of the structure outward into abutments at
  • either end.
  • This can be done through foundations or pylons, like with the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or the
  • earth itself as is the case with the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge,
  • in the United States.
  • With a main span of 1,104m (3,622ft) the Russky Bridge in Vladivostok was built to connect
  • Russky Island to the Russian mainland ahead of the 2012 APEC summit.
  • With its total length exceeding 3,100m (10,200ft) The Russky Bridge needed some of the tallest
  • pylons of any bridge in the world in order to carry it's remarkably long road decks.
  • Reaching 321m (1,053ft) into the air, the bridges two massive pylons are taller than
  • New York’s Chrysler Building.
  • From these towers 168 cables, some as long as 580m reach out to support the 4-lane roadway below.
  • Controversially, the bridge was built at an estimated cost of USD $1.1BN with a capacity
  • to carry 50,000 cars every day. However, with the population of Russky Island at just over
  • 5,000 people, the bridge is severely underutilised and considered by many Russians to be a white elephant.
  • All of the world’s longest bridges use the suspension principle and the longest of these
  • is a true titan of engineering. With a central span of almost two kilometres, the 1,991m
  • (6,532ft) Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Kobe, Japan is the longest bridge in the world.
  • Built over the course of a decade - between 1988 and 1998 - the bridge was
  • developed to address a range of issues.
  • The Akashi Strait is a major shipping lane that is notorious for severe storms, so any
  • fixed crossing had to avoid large numbers of supports across the channel.
  • On top of this, the bridge lies in one of the world’s most seismically active zones; the “Pacific
  • Ring of Fire”.
  • To overcome these challenges, engineers developed a structure that was able
  • to span the vast distance whilst being able bend and flex without suffering serious structural
  • damage.
  • The roadway is hung from vertical suspension cables attached to the main cables strung
  • between the bridge’s two supporting towers. These cables are anchored in the bedrock at
  • each end of the structure.
  • Originally designed with a main span of 1,990m, the city of Kobe experienced a 7.2 magnitude
  • earthquake in January 1995 while the bridge was still under construction.
  • The resulting ground shift pushed the bridges two supporting towers apart resulting in an
  • additional meter (three feet) of roadway being added to the structure to complete the deck.
  • A dual-hinged stiffening girder system and tuned mass dampers in each of the two support
  • towers of the bridge mean it can withstand 286kmh (178 mph) winds and earthquakes measuring
  • as high as 8.5 on the Richter Scale.
  • Built at a cost of USD $3.6BN the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge remains one of the most expensive bridges
  • ever constructed.
  • Of course we couldn’t end this video without recognising some of the former record holders,
  • and most famous bridges from around the world.
  • Stretching 1,280m (or 4,200 feet), the Golden Gate Bridge in the United States was the world’s
  • longest between 1937 and 1964.
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia was the world’s widest between 1932 and 2012 - with
  • a width of 48.8m (169ft).
  • And the Millau Viaduct in France remains the world’s tallest bridge to this day, with
  • pylons standing 343m above the ground.
  • If you enjoyed this video and would like to get more from the definitive video channel
  • for construction, subscribe to The B1M.

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We look at the longest bridges in the world - by construction type!
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The Golden Gate - Building an Impossible Bridge: /watch?v=OC5C9a2udjo

Images courtesy of Jurgen Zeller, Shortgame, Sato-SP, Shinji Noguchi, Hiroshi Nakai, K Nishiyama, Muriel Le Clerc, Gbovint, City of Vancouver Archives, National Archives of Canada, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Martin St-Amant, Graeme Bray, Glabb, China Communications Construction Company, Chene Beck, Tagishsimon, Walls Cover, Баяков Алексей Александрович, Sergey Shevchenko, Константин Сергеевич, Andrey Savin, Vkaeru, Alexey Kopytko, Tysto, Jason Hsu and Anne Dirkse.

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