Kausar Fatima describes some scintillating bridges
Bridges are an important part of transportation infrastructure when it comes to rail and automobiles but there is also something magical about crossing the Longest Pedestrian Bridges on foot. From major traffic bridges to humble rope bridges, the world is full of structures that can be walked across. Some of the bridges have the distinction of being attractive making the crossers happy and deeply immersed in their manifest beauty. To make them outstanding the architects and engineers devote their energies and take full use of their creative talents.
516 Arouca, Portugal
Opened on 30 April this year, Portugal’s Arouca Geopark is home to what is being billed as the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world. At a staggering length of 1,693 feet, the bridge can take a full 10 minutes to walk across. It spans between the Aguieiras Waterfall and Paiva Gorge over the River Paiva and is supported by two enormous V-shaped towers that hold the bridge’s unbelievably long steel cables.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Originally built by salmon fishermen in 1755, this rustic rope bridge stretches a mere 66 feet between the mainland and a very tiny island called Carrick-a-Rede. The first Longest Pedestrian Bridges was built so that fishermen did not have to make the short boat ride to the cottage and fishery located on the island. The fishery is now closed due to dwindling numbers of fish but the bridge normally continues to be a popular destination for tourists.
El Caminito Del Rey bridge, Spain
This bridge is part of a cliff walkway and holds the dubious distinction of being the world’s most dangerous walkway. El Caminito Del Rey, which translates to the king’s little pathway, consists of a death-defying pedestrian path suspended along the inner walls of a massive gorge, with the bridge portion stretching between the two sides of the gorge. The pathway was originally built for power-plant workers in the early 1900s but after significant deterioration it was completely rebuilt, reopening in 2015.
Webb Bridge, Melbourne, Australia
A cycle and pedestrian bridge that crosses Melbourne’s Yarra River, the sculptural Webb Longest Pedestrian Bridges is a true work of art. Designed by artist Robert Owen and architect Denton Corker Marshall, the bridge utilizes the remaining sections of the old Webb Dock Rail Bridge with substantial modern flourishes. The Webb is immediately recognizable through its hoop design, which is meant to resemble fishing traps and the flow of the river below.
Kintaikyo Bridge, Iwakuni, Japan
The gentle wooden arches and stone pillars of the Kintaikyo Bridge make this structure the jewel of Iwakuni, a city in the Yamaguchi Prefecture. A footbridge crossing the Nishiki River, Kintaikyo was originally built in 1673 but was destroyed in 1950 by a typhoon. Determined to re-establish the landmark, the townspeople rebuilt an exact replica, which is what stands in the original spot today.
Tower Bridge, London, UK
One of the most famous bridges in the world, Tower Bridge was built over the course of eight years from 1886 to 1894. The bridge is iconic for the majestic bridge towers at either end of the decks and also for the bascules on the lower level that lift to allow boat traffic to pass along the Thames River below. Pedestrians are able to freely walk along the main deck which also allows for car traffic but tickets are required to access the upper deck. The Weekender