A Triumph Over the Lake

Did you know that right here in the United States lies one of the world’s most terrifying bridges? Greetings from the longest bridge over water in the world, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana. This amazing building was acknowledged by Guinness World Records in 1969, and its renown continues to this day.

The necessity for a direct link to the northern part of the city became apparent when New Orleans saw significant growth in the 1940s and 1950s. Road traffic between the metropolis and the north was severely hampered by Lake Pontchartrain. Plans were made to build a direct path to the lake’s northern coast in order to address this problem.

The Louisiana Bridge Company was founded in 1955 to start this enormous building project. The initial two-lane section of the causeway, which is 23.86 miles long overall, opened in 1956 after being finished in just 14 months. It was an incredible technical achievement of colossal proportions.

Not only is the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway lengthy, but it is also rife with mythology. When driving over this enormous bridge, drivers are frequently in awe of it because they can’t see the ground for an incredible eight miles. Some people have gone so far as to develop a dread of open water that it has frozen them in their cars. The police intervene to offer protection and direction in those situations.

Unusual things have also happened on the bridge. When moms couldn’t make it to the hospital on the other side in time, babies were born on the causeway. The amazing tale of the airplane that ran out of fuel above the lake and made a safe landing on the bridge is another. The stories just heighten the mystery surrounding the bridge.

Ten years after the first bridge was finished, more than 5,300 cars crossed the bridge each day. Plans were put in place to build a second two-lane span parallel to the first causeway in order to increase its size. The second bridge, which is only 84 feet apart and little longer than the first, was opened for traffic in 1969.

The Guinness Book of World Records took notice of this development, and the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway was formally acknowledged as the world’s longest bridge across water. Up until 2011, it held this esteemed title without opposition.

The Chinese Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, which is longer than the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, was finished in 2011 and was a contender. Guinness, however, took into account aggregate constructions like underwater tunnels and land bridges at the ends of the main bridge. As ardent causeway proponents pointed out, these components weren’t quite “over water.”

Guinness made the sensible decision to establish two new categories in order to settle the dispute. The Jiaozhou Bay Bridge was crowned the “longest bridge over water (aggregate)” and the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway the “longest bridge over water (continuous).” More than 60 years after it was first completed, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway continues to hold the title of being the longest bridge over water in the world, despite the fact that the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge has now been eclipsed by the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

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