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The 10 Most Terrifying Highway Bridges in the World

Updated September 18, 2015

While this photo is from a movie, just a glimpse of it taps into a fear many of us have about bridges. Here are 10 bridges that make our hearts beat faster.

At one extreme are individuals who suffer from gephyrophobia, a crippling  fear of bridges. One woman with the disorder stayed on Staten Island didn’t cross a bridge for 13 years.  Most major bridges have drivers or tow vehicles on-call in case someone suffers an attack while on the bridge.

So while many people don’t feel anxiety to that extent, still a large percentage of us hold the wheel that much tighter when crossing a bridge.

And you can have frightening experiences on bridges even if crossing them doesn’t scare you. For example,  a driver in Maryland was drop kicked over the side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and fell nearly 30 feet into the river below when her Toyota Camry was struck from behind by a distracted trucker. Or a woman in Michigan who died when a gust of wind blew her Yugo over the guardrail  on the Mackinac Bridge  and down into the Straits of Mackinac, 100+ feet below.

Now let’s take a look at some bridges that I hope will tingle at least a few nerves.

Sidu River Bridge, China

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When asked, most people say that crossing a gorge is more frightening that crossing over water or land. So we’ll start with the most nail-biting of the bunch. Opened in 2009, the 3/4 mile only suspension bridge became the highest in the world, with the Sihu River flowing 1,600 feet (16 stories) below the road surface. For reference, the Empire State Building is 1454 feet to its very tip.

Royal Gorge Bridge, Colorado

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If you’re not planning on a trip to China anytime soon, you can drop by Cañon City, Colorado and visit the bridge that held the record as the highest bridge from its opening in 1929 until being overtaken in 2001. Hanging 955 feet above the Arkansas River, the bridge is 1,260 feet long.

Seasonal Pontoon Bridge, Nadym River, Yamalo-Nenetsky Avtonomny Okrug, Russia

Right at the Arctic Circle in Northern Russia, the Nadym River is frozen over for 8 months out of the year, so a rickety pontoon bridge is installed for the summer months. Watch what happens when a cautious Ford Focus driver holds up a construction truck and almost gets washed overboard in the process. Plans are to eliminate the bridge this year with a 12 month combination railroad/vehicle bridges (which may spawn a YouTube video its own).

 Eshima Ohashi Bridge, Japan

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Located on the west side of the main Japanese island of Honshū, the Eshima Ohashi Bridge connects two islands in a busy commercial cargo harbor. The height of the bridge is required so that mammoth cargo ships can pass beneath and the steepness is as a result of the small footprints of the islands it connects. Don’t let your palms get too sweaty, though.  The bridge isn’t as steep as it looks from this angle.

Aizhai Suspension Bridge, Hunan, China

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The Aizhai suspension bridge, the world’s highest and longest tunnel-to-tunnel bridge, links two tunnels 3,858 feet apart, carrying traffic 1165 feet above the floor of Dehang Canyon. The bridge forms a key section of the Jishou-Chadong Expressway, which has 18 tunnels in total comprising about half of its length, so if you’re both claustrophobic and gephyrophobic it’s definitely a trip you’ll wanna take!

Alam Bridge,  Pakistan

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Built with using a combination of iron rods and wood over the Gilgit River, the Alam Bridge is one of the longest bridges in this region of Pakistan, and measures nearly 1,000 feet in length. In view of its dangers, regional authorities are deployed at the bridge to ensure vehicles don’t exceed the speed limit. In addition, trucks and other loaded vehicles weighing more than 20 tons are not allowed to pass. It’s not known whether this driver was overloaded or just made and an error, but the damaged caused a temporary closure of the bridge.

Jungle Bridge, Democratic Republic of Congo

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Doctors and aide workers from the United Nations Refugee Agency battle the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo to reach refugees from violence in the Central Africa Republic.

Baluarte  Bridge, Sinaloa, Mexico

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Don’t call it a suspension bridge, the Baluarte Bridge is the highest cable-stayed bridge in the world, the third-highest bridge overall and the highest bridge in the Americas. The bridge has a total length of 3,688 feet with a central cable-stayed span of 1,710 feet. The road deck hangs 1,322 ft. above the valley below (that’s further than the Washington Monument perched on top of the Eiffel Tower). The bridge forms part of a new highway linking the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of northern Mexico and has reduced travel time between Durango and Mazatlán by 3.5 hours.

One-lane Car + Railroad Bridge, New Zealand

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New Zealand has numerous one-lane bridges scattered around the country, a situation the government is rectifying. Here’s an example of a one-lane bridge being retrofitted but has the surprise element of a set of railroad tracks running down the middle of the road. Note the width: 3.5 meters. For those of you who failed metric, it means if you drive a Ford F-150 down the middle of the road you’ll have less than two inches clearance on each side. Tight!

Ko Paen Bamboo Bridge, Cambodia

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The bamboo bridge crossing the Mekong River to Koh Paen is  totally built by hand each year, as during the rainy season it’s entirely underwater. Reports are that passing over it in a vehicle can be nerve-racking at the bridge rattles and sways. Vehicle traffic is directed by police radio, alternating direction every so often. Just don’t light a match.

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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