10 Record-Breaking Bridges
They’re the biggest, the boldest, the busiest—each of these bridges accomplishes a feat so fantastic our ancestors wouldn't have believed it possible. Yes, they're miracles of engineering, but they're also a testament to human creativity, seamlessly integrating function with style.
Longest Footbridge: Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, New York
When this 6,767-foot-long steel cantilever railroad bridge opened in 1889 over the Hudson River, it ranked as the longest bridge in the world. It carried trains across the river for 85 years until a fire damaged the tracks in 1974, forcing it to close. Thirty-five years later, after several false starts at restoration, a nonprofit group called Walkway Over the Hudson reopened the bridge, this time as a pathway for pedestrians and cyclists, in October 2009. Now a state historic park, the Walkway Over the Hudson is the longest footbridge in the world, serving as a link between trails on both sides of the river for walkers, runners, cyclists, and rollerbladers.
Best Vantage Point: In the fall, the leaves turn the banks of the Hudson into a collage of reds, oranges, and yellows. Picnic on one of the tables at either end of the bridge before strolling across, giving yourself plenty of time to snap photos along the way. walkway.org.
Oldest: Caravan Bridge, Turkey
At first glance, there's nothing remarkable about this bridge. The arched stone slab straddling the River Meles, in Izmir, Turkey, extends only 42½ feet and is about as simple as they come. But it's the age, not the physical aspects, of the Caravan that sets it apart. Built in 850 B.C., the bridge is 2,861 years old and has reportedly been crossed by the likes of Homer and Saint Paul. As impressive as some of the other bridges on this list are, it's hard to imagine they'll last even half that long.
Best Vantage Point: Located in old Izmir, the bridge is best reached by taxi. Simply ask your driver to take you to "Sarnic," which is the Turkish name for the bridge. We recommend going during the afternoon, when the light is best for photography.
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