The world’s longest cross-sea bridge… or is it? (Jiaozhou Bay Bridge)

Friday, 1st July 2011 by

Today the news is filled with stories about the opening of the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, which at 42.4km (26.3 miles) is attempting to lay claim to the title of "longest sea bridge in the world".

The bridge spans connects the eastern coastal city of Qingdao to the suburb of Huangdao, and despite several reputable sources claiming the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge is the world's longest bridge to cross the sea, the triple-ended bridge actually spans a bay, so it probably only qualifies as the "world's longest roadway bridge over water".

Except there's a bit of disagreement from the previous holder of the title - the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in southern Louisiana, which claims it's still the true record holder - and it may have a point.

The argument is that the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge is over water for only(!) 25.5 km (15.8 mi), while the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway crosses water for 38 km (24 mi). These figures were announced by a "representative of Lake Pontchartrain Causeway", but given the complexity of the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, who knows what methodology was used to get to these numbers!

We originally wrote about the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway back in April 2005, which today (thanks in part to China's seemingly unstoppable economic expansion) is one of only two bridges outside Asia that remains amongst the top ten longest bridges in the world. Which could perhaps explain why the anthropomorphised Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is upset.

Regardless of which bridge is longer (and under which definition), there can be no question that these staggeringly huge bridges are sheer masterpieces of modern engineering and construction. Here's s Street View image from the middle of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway which demonstrates its length brilliantly.

Click through to the map and spin around - you can't see land anywhere. The bridge is so long that the curvature of the Earth obscures the shore from sight!

This Wikipedia page lists all the longest bridges in the world, including several land-based ones that are far longer than either the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge or the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway!

Thanks to Barry for the Street View link!