Monday, February 7, 2011

12 Most Unusual Bridges of the World

Some of this bridges make drivers and passengers to gape in amazement and break out the digital camera. These are the best of the best, bridges that break the mold and blaze new trails in structural achievement.

1. Kawazu-Nanadaru Loop Bridge, Japan
Kawazu-Nanadaru Loop Bridge photo source
The Kawazu-Nanadaru Loop Bridge consists of two spirals, each 1,1 km (0.7mi) long, 80-meter in diameter (262 ft) - the only way for traffic to get down the mountainside into the valley, too steep for any other usual road-building solutions. 

The busy Route 414 serves the weekend crowd from Tokyo, intent to wind down at the hot springs resort of the Izu Peninsula. The "winding down" bit obviously starts at this bridge. Built in 1981, the double-spiral structure demands careful driving - the speed limit on the bridge is only 30 km/h (19 mi/h), which also helps to better enjoy the views.

2. Hureai Bridge, Japan
This unique circular pedestrian bridge is located at the foot of the Hiyoshi dam near Kyoto, Japan. It is part of  Hiyoshi Spring spa resort and was designed by Japanese architect Norihiko Dan, who also planned the landscaping of the spa resort and park. 
Built in 1998 the bridge known as 'Friendship Bridge' has a diameter of 80 metres (262 ft).

3. Wind-Rain Bridge, China
Chengyang Wind-Rain Bridge photo source
The Chengyang Bridge or Chengyang Wind-Rain Bridge, Liuzhou, Guangxi Province (very north of Guangzi), People's Republic of China. It's in Dong Minority Region. It's a special covered bridge and one of Fengyu Bridges (a special bridge type in local Dong Minority Region). It was completed in 1916. It has many other names including Yongji Bridge and Panlong Bridge.

The bridge is a perfect combination of painting, bridge, corridor, veranda and Chinese pavilion. It has two platforms (at the two ends of the bridge), 3 piers, and 4 spans, 5 pavilions, 19 verandas, and three floors. The piers are made of stone, the upper structures are mainly wooden, and the roofs are covered with tiles. The bridge has wooden handrails on both sides.The bridge has a total length of 64.4 meters (211 ft), and its corridor has a width of 3.4 meters (11 ft). The net height above the river is about 10 meters (33 ft).

4. Ponte Vecchio, Italy

The Ponte Vecchio is a Medieval bridge over the Arno River, in Florence, Italy, noted for still having shops built along it, as was once common. Butchers initially occupied the shops; the present tenants are jewellers, art dealers and souvenir sellers. It has been described as Europe's oldest wholly-stone, closed-spandrel segmental arch bridge, but there are far older segmental arch bridges such as Alconétar Bridge.
The bridge first appears in a document of 996.The bridge consists of three segmental arches: the main arch has a span of 30 meters (98 ft) the two side arches each span 27 meters (88 ft). The rise of the arches is between 3.5 and 4.4 meters (11½ to 14½ feet), and the span-to-rise ratio 5:1.

5. Langkawi Sky Bridge, Malaysia
Langkawi Sky Bridge is a 125 metre (410 ft) curved pedestrian cable-stayed bridge. It is located 700m (2,300 ft) above sea level at the peak of Gunung Mat Chinchang on Pulau Langkawi, an island in the Langkawi archipelago in Kedah.The Langkawi Sky Bridge is accessible by the Langkawi Cable Car.
The Langkawi sky-bridge in Malaysia offer magnificent views of the Andaman Sea and Thailand’s Tarutao Island. The Andaman Sea and Thailand’s Tarutao Island can be seen in the distance. Platforms at each end allow the visitors to take a breather before venturing across. There are also signs telling visitors to get off the bridge quickly in the event of an electrical storm.

6. Aiola Island Bridge, Austria

Located in the center of the Mur river in Graz, Austria, it has a sunbathing area, a trendy bar and a coffee house. Aiola Island Bridge is a unique offering of coolest bridge cum bar. Known as  ‘Aiola Island’, it is positioned right in the heart of the Mur River in Graz, Austria. The island was built in 2003 by a New-York based artist Vito Acconci.
Aiola island-bridge bar in Austria  photo source

This exclusive installed masterpiece got the deserving attention within months. It features a sunbathing area, fashionable bar and a coffee house and also allows you an access to cross the Mur river from one shore to other. I haven’t come such an elite masterpiece before.

7. Tianjin Eye bridge, China
It is a gigantic Ferris wheel built on Yongle Bridge over the Haihe river. It can lift people 120m (395 ft) up into the air. Tianjin Eye is a 120m-tall (110m or 360 ft - diameter) Ferris wheel built on the Chihai Bridge over the Hai River in Tianjin, China. It is claimed to be the only such wheel to have been constructed over a bridge.

Construction started in 2007 (main body completed on 2008-Dec-18) and it opened to the public in on 2008-Apr-07. The electric-powered wheel has 48 capsules, each with a capacity of 8 passengers, and takes 30 minutes to complete a rotation, giving a capacity of 768 passengers per hour.
Tianjin Eye at night  photo source
At the time of construction, only the 135m (440 ft) London Eye and 160m (520 ft) Star of Nanchang were taller, however even larger wheels have since been built, including the 165m (540 ft) Singapore Flyer, and the 185m (610 ft) Great Berlin Wheel and 208m (680 ft) Beijing Great Wheel are under construction.

8. Henderson Waves, Singapore
photo source
At a height of 36 meters (118 ft) or 12 storeys from the road, it's the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. Henderson Waves is a 274-metre (900 ft) long pedestrian bridge. At 36 metres (118 ft) above Henderson Road, it is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. It connects Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park.
Henderson Waves at night  photo source
The bridge has a wave-form made up of seven undulating curved steel ribs that alternately rise over and under its deck. The curved ribs form alcoves that function as shelters with seats within. Slats of yellow balau wood, an all-weather timber found in South-East Asia, are used in the decking. The wave-forms are lit with LED light at night from 7pm to 2am daily.

9. Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line, Japan
The Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line, also known as the Trans-Tokyo Bay Highway, is a bridge-tunnel combination across Tokyo Bay in Japan. It connects the city of Kawasaki in Kanagawa Prefecture with the city of Kisarazu in Chiba Prefecture, and forms part of National Route 409. With an overall length of 14 km (8.7 mi), it includes a 4.4 km (2.7 mi) bridge and 9.6 km (6 mi) tunnel underneath the bay—the fourth-longest underwater tunnel in the world.
At the bridge-tunnel crossover point, there is an artificial island called Umihotaru with a rest area consisting of restaurants, shops and amusement facilities. Air is supplied to the tunnel by a distinctive tower in the middle of the tunnel, called the Kaze no Tō, which uses the bay's almost-constant winds as a power source. The road opened on December 18, 1997 after 31 years of construction at a cost of 11.2 billion USD at the time of opening. The Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line reduced the drive between Chiba and Kanagawa, two important industrial regions, from 90 to 15 minutes.

10. Falkirk Wheel, Scotland
It restored navigability across Scotland on the historic Forth & Clyde Canal and Union Chanal. The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. It is named after the nearby town of Falkirk in central Scotland. The two canals were previously connected by a series of 11 locks, but by the 1930s these had fallen into disuse, were filled in and the land built upon.
The Millennium Commission decided to regenerate the canals of central Scotland to connect Glasgow with Edinburgh once more. Designs were submitted for a lock to link the canals, with the Falkirk Wheel design winning. As with many Millennium Commission projects the site includes a visitors' centre containing a shop, café and exhibition centre.

Falkirk Wheel at work (video below):

11. Banpo Bridge, South Korea
The Banpo Bridge is a major bridge in downtown Seoul over the Han River, South Korea, connecting the Seocho and Yongsan districts. Banpo Bridge is on top of Jamsu Bridge, forming a "double deck" bridge. When the water level rises too high, the Jamsu Bridge becomes covered with water and gets closed off. The lower deck incorporates pedestrian and bicycle paths that provide easy access to the Banpo Hangang Park from the north side of the river. Banpo Bridge is a girder bridge and was completed in 1982.
The bridge has 38 water pumps and 380 nozzles on either side, which draw 190 tons of water per minute from the river 20 meters (65 ft) below the deck, and shoots as far as 43 meters (140 ft) horizontally.

Bridge - Fountain at work (video below):

12. Magdeburg Water Bridge, Germany
The Germans took over 80 years to build this 918m (3,000 ft) bridge over Elbe river near the town of Magdeburg. Canal engineers had first conceived of joining the two waterways as far back as 1919, and by 1938 the Rothensee boat lift and bridge anchors were in place, but construction was postponed during World War II. After the Cold War split Germany, the project was put on hold indefinitely by the East German government.
With the reunification of Germany and major establishment of water transport routes made the Water Bridge a priority again. Work started in 1997, with construction taking six years and costing €500 million. The water bridge now connects Berlin’s inland harbour network with the ports along the Rhine river. The aqueduct's trough structure incorporates 24,000 tonnes of steel and 68,000 cubic meters of concrete. Until the opening of the water bridge in October 2003, ships moving between the Midland Canal and the Elbe-Havel Canal used a 12-kilometre (7.5 mi), through the Rothensee lock, along the River Elbe and back up Niegripp lock.
source 1   source 2
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  1. He who must travel happily must travel light. Cheap Flights to Perth

  2. All those places look beautiful. Looking at them just makes me want to go there with my camera and take some cool pictures.

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  3. I like the wooden bridge in China. It has stood for centuries and constructed with technology at that time minus nails, router bits and cement.

  4. These are great bridges indeed. I admire the skills of the photographers who took these photos from that angle. They must be very keen to small details. I wish I could visit one of these bridges soon.

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  5. Larry...the chinese bridge was completed in 1916. I know the pictures are pretty but please use the words too ;)

  6. This is nice post which I was awaiting for such an article and I have gained some very handy information from this site, I admire the valuable information you offer in all your articles

  7. Nice post. We are impressed by your clear description of your topic. Thanks for the information. Keep on writing.


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