Residents of Vancouver are wondering whether their brand new $2.4 billion "Port Mann Bridge" is somehow cursed. Shortly after its grand opening in Dec/12, large ice chunks fell from the support wires during a mild snow storm, causing damage to 60 cars and a temporary closure of the bridge. Two weeks later, unsalted icy patches led to a 40-car pileup during the morning rush hour. To this point, no lives have been lost on the Port Mann Bridge but 2 highly publicized events are calling the bridge's safety into question.
- Structurally Unsound - being in poor repair or badly designed adds an element of danger. Suspension and ladder bridges are the least safe of all. There is a deep crevasse on Mt. Everest that can only be crossed by linking 5 ladders together - most climbers choose to take the half hour detour to avoid crossing this particular bridge.
- Collapses - stories of bridge collapses are always frightening because of their randomness. They can happen for a number of reasons, not the least of which are earthquakes, deferred maintenance, or structural deficiencies. Railway bridge collapses account for the 5 deadliest bridge incidents of all time. This particular image was taken in the aftermath of the 2007 collapse of the I-35W over the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul that killed 4 people.
- Suicide - the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco has developed a very dark reputation as the world's preeminent "suicide bridge". Should you wish to know more about this subject, a 2006 documentary entitled "The Bridge" explores the topic in an honest and straightforward manner.
The 5 Scariest Bridges
In my opinion, here are the 5 Scariest Bridges in the World:
5) Trift Bridge - Switzerland
Switzerland's Trift Bridge is the Alps' longest pedestrian-only suspension bridge. It is 560 feet long and, in the middle, represents a height of 330 feet. The bridge was opened on June 12, 2009 after a mere 6 weeks of construction. To get to this bridge, you must hike or take a cable car.
4) Husseini Bridge, Borith Lake - Pakistan
Credit: Joel CarilletImagine needing to cross this bridge to get out of your village. For the locals in the remote village of Husseini on the shores of Borith Lake near Passu, Pakistan, this bridge followed by a 2 km dirt trail is the only way to is the only way to get to a larger city. I am struck by the fact that this is the new bridge - the old bridge (on the right) has been taken out of service.
3) Langkawi Sky Bridge - Malaysia
Built in 2004, this suspension bridge is on top of Malaysia's Machinchang mountain. The serpentine shaped bridge is suspended from cables from a crooked 250 foot pillar. The unique shape results in a vertical of 300 feet at midspan. The walkway itself is nearly 400 feet and can only be accessed after taking a cable car ride.
2) Titlis Suspension Bridge - Switzerland
Opened in Dec/12, the Titlis Suspension Bridge is the highest in the Alps (9,977 feet above sea level). At 3 feet wide and 300 feet long, the midspan of the bridge is 1,600 feet above ground.
1) Royal Gorge Bridge - Colorado
The Royal Gorge Bridge is the world's highest bridge in the USA at 956 feet from deck to the Arkansas River below. From the time of it's construction in 1929 until 2001, it was the World's highest bridge (an honor that now belongs to the 1,203 foot tall Beipanjiang River Bridge). It was built as a tourist attraction, and measures 1,260 feet long and 18 feet wide.