Golden Gate Bridge

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The Golden Gate bridge on Golden Gate strait connects the city of San Francisco to Marin county. This majestic suspension bridge is seen by many as a symbol of the American dream. Here are a few vital stats of the bridge:

Bridge type: Suspension bridge

Length: 2700 m

Width: 27.4 m

Height: 227 m

Opened: 1937

Cost of construction: 27 million USD

Though the name says golden gate, the bridge has been painted reddish orange in color in order to protect it from the corrosive environment. The bridge derives its name from the Golden Gate strait which connects the the San Francisco bay to the Pacific ocean. The US Navy initially objected for the construction of the bridge fearing that the naval ships would be trapped in the bay if the bridge was bombed or it collapsed. Eventually approval was given, but the military wanted the bridge to be painted in black and yellow stripes.

Apart from helping to reduce traffic congestion, the bridge is also a popular tourist attraction and according to Frommers travel guide, the most photographed bridge in the world.

What is even more interesting about the Golden gate bridge is that its construction created many jobs during the Great Depression, thereby helping the economic development of the United States. The citizens of San Francisco area pledged their own homes, farms and other properties as collateral for the $ 35 million bond issues by the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway district.

Aerial view of the golden gate bridge
Aerial view of the golden gate bridge
Golden gate bridge at night
Golden gate bridge at night

Pamban bridge

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Pamban bridge connects the town of Rameshwaram on Pamban island to the mainland India. This sea bridge is built over Palk strait near the southernmost part of India. It serves as a much needed connectivity to the pilgrim city of Rameshwaram. Here are few vital stats of the bridge:

Length: 2050 m

Opened: 1914

Cost of construction: Rs.7 million

Bridge type: Cantilever

To increase trade between India and Ceylon (present day Sri lanka) the British identified th need for a railway bridge on the Palk strait in 19th century. The construction ran into trouble as a railway bridge would obstruct the passage of ferries in Palk strait. In order to allow the ferries to pass beneath the bridge, a double-leaf bascule section was indeed. This section can be raised to allow the ships pass beneath it. Around 10-15 ships pass beneath the bridge every month. Until recently, levers were used manually to raise and lower the bascule section. Since its inception,the bridge carried meter gauge trains. In 2007, the Indian Railways upgraded it to broad gauge. Pamban bridge successfully withstood the onslaught of severe natural calamities like they cyclone in 1964 which destroyed the island of Dhanushkodi and 2004 tsunami. Various islands of the Gulf of Mannar can be seen from the bridge.

Pamban bridge opening to allow ships to ferry
Pamban bridge opening to allow ships to ferry

Considering that a movable bridge was built way back in 1914 in India when sophisticated methods were not available, Pamban bridge is a true marvel of structural engineering.

Millau Viaduct

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Millau Viaduct is a cable-stayed bridge over river Tarn near Millau in France. It is a part of the A75-A71 highway from Paris to Beziers and Montpellier. Here are a few vital stats of the bridge:

Length: 2500 m

Width: 32.05 m

Clearance below: 270 m

Max height above ground: 342 m

Number of spans: 6

Length of maximum span: 340 m

Opened: 2004

Cost of construction: 400 million euros

Millau viaduct has a mast height of 340 m above its base. It is tallest bridge in the world. Its height is more than the than Eiffel tower (324 m), making it the tallest structure in France. Because of the construction of the bridge, travel time from France to Spain has reduced considerably.

Cable-stayed bridges are built when the length to be spanned is very big. With 6 spans each of average length 340m, Millau viaduct is indeed a marvel of structural engineering.

Millau viaduct at dusk
Millau viaduct at dusk