As engineering marvels that that connect cities and countries, bridges are one of the most awe-inspiring manmade structures on the planet. Some took a matter of months to build, while others took decades. Centuries later, many continue to impress. The next time your private jet takes you to one of the following destinations, be sure to take a moment to appreciate these feats of the imagination.
Pont du Gard | Remoulins, France
An UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985, the Pont du Gard has spanned the Gardon River since the first century AD. The Romans built the ancient three-tiered aqueduct in southern France to carry water 31 miles, from an Uzès spring to the Nemausus colony in modern day Nimes. Most of the aqueduct is underground because of the hilly terrain. After the Roman era, Pont du Gard served as a toll footbridge.
Akashi Kaikyō Bridge | Akashi Strait, Japan
The world’s longest suspension bridge, Akashi Kaikyō bridge stretches 12,800 feet along the Akashi Strait to link Kobe in Honshu to Iwaya on Awaji Island. The bridge’s central span is over a mile long. Before its completion in 1998, individuals could only reach the mainland via ferry when the weather was optimal. The bridge’s hinged girder system allows it to withstand Category 5 hurricane winds and earthquakes as treacherous as 8.5 on the Richter scale.
Henderson Waves Pedestrian Bridge | Southern Ridges Trail, Singapore
At 118 feet above Henderson Road and 900 feet long, the Henderson Waves pedestrian bridge is the ultimate example of form following function. It is the highest pedestrian bridge in the country and its curved steel rises over and under the balau wood deck, forming shelter from the sun. Completed in 2008, the bridge took four years to build. It links Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park. At night, the waves illuminate with LED lamps.
Eshima Ohashi Bridge | Sakaiminato, Tottori Prefecture, Japan
Spanning one mile across Japan’s Lake Nakaumi, the concrete Eshima Ohashi Bridge links Sakaiminato and Matuse. As one of the stranger bridges in the world, it sharply rises while cars are still on it to allow boats to pass. It has a gradient of 6.1 percent on the Matuse side and 5.1 percent on the Sakaiminato side. Depending on the angle that you see the bridge, it appears as if the traveling cars are on a roller coaster.
Royal Gorge Bridge | Cañon City, Colorado
A bridge with one of best panoramic views in the world, the Royal Gorge Bridge in Royal Gorge Bridge & Park was the highest bridge in the world from 1929 to 2001. At 955 feet above the Arkansas River, it is still the highest bridge in the United States. Its 1,260-foot walkway is strictly for pedestrian use while the park is open.
Øresund Bridge | Sweden and Denmark
When you see the Øresund Bridge from a chartered jet flight, it curiously seems to lead to a tiny island in the Øresund Strait and disappear. Providing a nonstop connection from Malmö, Sweden, and Copenhagen, Denmark, since 2000, the bridge spans 25,738 feet across the water to an artificial island in the straight. The road on the island ducks underground to an underwater tunnel. Because the flora and fauna developed freely on the artificial island, it is now home to a rare green toad species, birds and rare insects.