We look at some of the world’s most impressive bridges.

ICE Publishing at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Four top bridges
  • Updated: 29 Mar 2022
  • Author: Isobel Pritchard
The purpose of a bridge is to allow people or transport access over a physical obstacle. This physical obstacle could be anything, from other transport networks to valleys. Yet, for me, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of a bridge is one over water and the potential to dive off it on a summer’s day. 
 
Denham bridge in particular provides a lot of fun in the summer months. Situated across the River Tavy near Plymouth, UK, this 17th-century arch bridge is the perfect spot for some wild swimming. 

So, bridges provide huge benefits to the public in a number of ways. They create entertainment as well as accessibility. While doing so, they must be economical and safe.  

What are the world’s most impressive bridges? 

The Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge, China 
  • Claim to fame: Extending an impressive 102 miles long, this is the world’s longest bridge. 
  • Type: Viaduct 
  • Open date: 2011 
  • Location: Across the Yangtze River delta, it connects Danyang to Kunchan  
  • Cost: Over £7 billion 
More on bridges in China 

Millau Viaduct, France 
  • Claim to fame: At 343 metres, this is the world’s tallest bridge. Tallest refers to the height of its own structure. At its highest point, it rises 270m above the river. 
  • Type: Multispan cable-stayed bridge 
  • Open date: 2004 
  • Location: It connects Clermont-Ferrand and Béziers and Narbonne 
  • Cost: Over £330 million 
More about the Millau Viaduct 

Beipanjiang Bridge, China 
  • Claim to fame: At over 560m above the ground, this is the highest bridge in the world.  
  • Type: Cable-stayed bridge 
  • Open date: Open to traffic 2017 
  • Location: Province of Guizhou 
  • Cost: Over £100 million 
More on cable-stayed bridges 
 
Caravan Bridge, Turkey 
  • Claim to fame: Built in circa 850BC, this is thought to be the oldest functioning bridge in the World. That makes it over 3,000 years old. 
  • Type: Single arch slab-stone 
  • Open date: circa 850BC 
  • Location: spans over Meles River in Izmir, Turkey 
  • Cost: Unknown 
More on Engineering History and Heritage
 


ICE Manual of Bridge Engineering, Third edition

This manual is the authority on all aspects of bridge design, construction and management. 

Learn all the key topics that any bridge engineer needs to refer to from a team of leading experts. All aspects, from bridge design, materials and management of bridges to loadings, construction and accessories such as expansion joints, parapets and bearings, are covered in this manual. Bridge inspections and economic and sustainable maintenance are also included. Fully updated to a third edition, this book features new chapters on bridge aesthetics and temporary works.

The ICE Manual of Bridge Engineering is available in Print and as an eBook.