Thousands of years ago, the first bridges were simple wooden structures, usually over a stream or river. Over the years, bridges have evolved into increasingly complex designs that take form and function into account. The primary concern of bridge designers is always safety, but many designers have created intricate or artistic designs that are unique and beautiful. While there are many unique bridge designs, here are a few that stand out in different ways.
Living Root Bridges
PJeganathan, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
In India, over 100 incredible natural bridges have been made in the region of Meghalaya. The jungle’s steep slopes and dense plant life make building traditional roads nearly impossible. The locals have found an alternative – living bridges – to make crossing rivers easier so they can go to the market or trade with other villages. Each living bridge is carefully planned due to the time involved in the process.
A bamboo foundation is stretched across, and then tree roots are “trained” onto the structure. The roots grow along the temporary foundation, eventually forming a strong living bridge. The process can take up to 20 years and is one of the world’s most beautiful examples of sustainable bridge construction.
Langkawi Sky Bridge
Engin Akyurt, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
The Langkawi Sky Bridge is a pedestrian bridge through the mountains on the west coast of the Langkawi island of Malaysia. This unique curved suspension bridge is one of the longest in the world and features glass floor panels along the way, along with breathtaking views of the island’s mountains and valleys.
Engineers created the bridge using a single pylon, or tower, as its support. All of the supporting cables for the bridge suspend from this pylon, so the bridge is structurally advanced as well as an amazing way to enjoy the view. The bridge was designed and built to promote tourism to the island, and it has become a popular attraction.
Gateshead Millennium Bridge
Axel Steenberg, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Modern bridge design produces functional masterpieces as well as beautiful ones. The Gateshead Millennium Bridge in Gateshead, UK was completed in 2001 over the River Tyne. This pedestrian and cyclist bridge tilts to let boats pass under, making it a convenient and modern functional bridge for both pedestrians and watercraft.
In under five minutes, the bridge opens or closes and cleans up its own litter through the use of special traps at the end of the bridge. This bridge has become such a landmark in its relatively short life that it has the honor of being on a coin.
There are many famous and unique bridges in the world. Each one was designed by bridge engineers who created beautiful and functional solutions. In the southeastern United States and beyond, you can count on Nature Bridges to construct an imaginative and efficient bridge for you and your neighborhood. When you’re inspired by one of these unique constructions – or your imagination – contact us to get started!