Thursday, October 7, 2010

World's Scariest Bridges (part 2)

From sky-high suspension bridges to dilapidated rope bridges, these crossings aren’t for the meek.


11. Sidu River Bridge, China


When this bridge opened in November 2009, it was the world’s highest bridge, rising more than 1,500 feet in the air. The span is so high that Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl Tower could fit underneath it.
Where: High above a river gorge in China’s Hubei Province
Stats: There are 1,550 feet from the bridge’s roadway to the valley floor.

12. Seven Mile Bridge, Florida

Besides being seven miles long, the bridge itself doesn’t seem that scary. But its position in the Florida Keys makes it a prime target for the region’s many hurricanes. In fact, the current bridge is the second iteration. The newer bridge scrapped the swing span concept of the original in lieu of a sturdier 65-foot-high arch to allow boats to pass by. While it may be sturdier, we still wouldn’t want to be on it during a storm.
Where: The Florida Keys, connecting the Middle and Lower Keys.
Stats: 7 miles long; 65 feet high

13. U Pain Bridge, Myanmar

With no handrails, you’ll want to be extra careful crossing this bridge, especially in the dry season—there’s no lake below to soften the fall. And it’s not exactly brand-new; this 3/4-mile-long teak bridge was built more than 200 years ago. More than 1,000 wooden posts (read: logs)—with roughly four or five feet between each—hold it up.
Where: In Mandalay, connecting opposite banks of Taungthaman Lake
Stats: 3/4 miles long; 15 feet high.

14. Deception Pass Bridge, Washington

If the drive over this foggy strait in the Puget Sound isn't particularly scary to you, try walking over the narrow pedestrian lane at the edge of the bridge. That's where you'll find especially hair-raising views of the rushing water directly below.
Where: Connecting Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island, in Deception Pass State Park.
Stats: Combined, the two spans are 1,486 feet in length; 180 feet above the water.


15. Iya Valley Vine Bridges, Japan

This remote region on Shikoku, Japan’s smallest island, is home to three vine bridges. The originals were built with slats of wood placed between 7 and 12 inches apart, secured in place with two single vines. While the new bridges are reinforced with wire and hand rails, they’re still not for the faint of heart.
Where: Tokushima, over the Iya-gawa River
Stats: 148 feet long; 46 feet high.


16. Captain William Moore Bridge, Alaska

True, earthquakes don’t happen all the time, but this bridge isn’t where you want to be during one: it crosses an active earthquake fault. Engineers, aware of the potential for disaster, anchored only one end of the bridge securely, so when the ground below shifts, the bridge isn’t torn apart. Still too terrifying? Take the White Pass & Yukon train route, which passes by the bridge.
Where: Along the South Klondike Highway near Skagway
Stats: 110-foot-long cantilever bridge built in 1901


17. Cikurutug Bridge, Indonesia

Most of the three-hour trip on the Argo Gede train is packed with gorgeous views of green mountains and river valleys. But the ride turns from scenic to scary once you get to the Cikurutug Bridge, where the train slid off its tracks in 2002. Though nobody was hurt, authorities have elevated security precautions to protect their passenger’s safety since the accident.
Where: On the Argo Gede train from Jakarta’s Gambir station to Bandung
Stats: About 200 feet above the valley floor.


18. Canopy Walk, Ghana

These footbridges soar above the forest floor in Ghana’s Kakum National Park. Sure, there are hand rails and net walls that rise up on either side of you—about three-and-a-half to four feet high, anyway—but you’re still walking on a plank of wood no more than one foot wide. Oh yes, and you’re 100 feet off the forest floor.
Where: Kakum National Park
Stats: 1,000 feet long; 100 feet high.


19. Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, Louisiana

This bridge rises just 16 feet above the waters of Lake Pontchartrain, but the real fear factor is that it never seems to end—it spans nearly 24 miles from Metairie to Mandeville, LA. (Once you reach roughly the eight-mile mark, say goodbye to land visibility.)
Where: Across Lake Pontchartrain between the towns of Metairie and Mandeville.
Stats: 24 miles long; 16 feet above water.

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