Bridges in the USA – 10 Most Famous

Historically, bridges are famous for providing passage to another area. Without them, certain areas would be inaccessible. These structures pass over mountains, water bodies, or other roads.

But besides their functionality, many bridges are famous for their historical importance, creative design, beauty, and unique colors. They offer breathtaking views whether you are driving, walking, or riding across them.

The article below highlights 10 of the most famous bridges in the USA and what makes them so unique.

Famous Bridges in the USA

1. Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate

Considering that it isn’t just famous in the US but worldwide too, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it made the list. This San Francisco’s iconic structure was designed by engineer Joseph Stauss in 1917 and completed in 1937.

At that time, it was the highest and longest bridge in the world, and today, it is probably among the most photographed structures. This famous suspension bridge connects San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, spanning 4,200 feet and has a height of 746 feet.

Also Read: Landmarks in the USA

Every year, more than 10 million people visit the bridge as it is open to pedestrians, bikes, and cars. If you are ever in San Francisco, then you have to stop by. To ensure the bridge maintains its international orange color, it is painted with about 5,000 to 10,000 gallons of paint annually.

2. Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

Even though the idea of building this bridge was envisioned in the 1880s, the Mackinac Bridge opened in 1957. With a length of 26,372 feet, the bridge connects Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas.

The locals refer to it as Big Mac or Might Mac, and this beauty is just as majestic as the amazing Grand lakes underneath (Lake Michigan and Lake Huron).

The late David B. Steinman is the architect behind the design of this bridge, and he was once considered among the top bridge designers and engineers.

Governor G. Mennen Williams started the famous Mackinac Bridge Walk in 1958. Since then, the walk has become an annual event held every Labor Day.

The bridge is a major tourist destination during summer, attracting bird watchers, bridge enthusiasts, and photographers.

3. Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is not just a bridge but a national historical landmark in New York. It was opened in 1882, and at that time, it was the first steel-wire suspension bridge globally, spanning a length of 1,595 feet and a height of 276 feet.

Initially, it was referred to as the East River Bridge or the New York and Brooklyn Bridge. In 1915, it was renamed the Brooklyn Bridge.

The main designer and engineer behind this majestic landmark is John A. Roebling, with the help of other architects. Unfortunately, he was also among the 27 people that died as it was being constructed.

Also Read: Buildings in USA

On the opening day of the bridge, it is believed that more than 2000 cars and 150,000 pedestrians crossed the bridge.

However, there were still some rumors that the bridge was not strong enough to hold people and cars. As a show of good faith, P.T. Barnum, a famous circus showman, was asked to walk 21 elephants over the bridge to show that it was strong.

4. Seven Mile Bridge

Seven Mile Bridge

Another famous bridge in the US is the Seven Mile Bridge. The location has two bridges. The older one is reserved for pedestrians and cyclists, while the modern bridge is for vehicles.

The older bridge was completed in just three years (1909-1912) under the direction of Clarence S. Coe and Henry Flagler, and connects Knight’s Key to Little Duck Key in Florida.

The modern bridge was built from 1978 to 1982 and has been featured in films and series like Fast 2 Furious, License to Kill, and Burn Notice.

But while the original bridge is intact, it is often used as a fishing pier. It is also disintegrating quite fast, and the State of Florida is having challenges maintaining it.

5. Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is actually not the first bridge in that location. Initially, a bridge by the same name was there. Unfortunately, the Summit Venture freighter crashed on the first bridge, leading to the death of 35 people in 1980.

The current four-lane bridge was opened in 1987 and was designed by a company called the Figg & Muller Engineering Group.

It is a cable-stayed bridge spanning 1200 feet connecting Terra Ceia with St. Petersburg. The bridge is equipped with bike and pedestrian lanes, providing excellent views for all trespassers.

In November 2017, a 15.6 million project was started to install decorative lights across the Skyway’s columns, sloped spans, and main spans. Not only does the light make the bridge aesthetically pleasing, but it also enhances safety by providing security lights on the underside of the bridge at night.

6. New River Gorge Bridge

 New River Gorge Bridge

This bridge is famous due to the breathtaking views surrounding it. It is almost therapeutic. Completed in 1977, the bridge solved a huge transport challenge by reducing a 40-minute drive to less than a minute.

The bridge stands about 876 feet above the New River, and for 26 years, it held the title of the highest bridge with a regular roadway until 2001.

Its height attracts daredevils who are allowed to jump from the bridge only if they have the right equipment. Apart from that, the town of Fayetteville conducts an annual festival to celebrate the structure.

If you get the timing right, you can enjoy the amazing views while eating, listening to music, and watching adventurers jump from the bridge.

7. George Washington Bridge

George Washington Bridge

The George Washington Bridge connects the borough of Manhattan to New Jersey with a length of 4,760 feet. Not only is it a famous bridge, but it is also the busiest bridge in the world. In 2016 alone, the bridge carried more than 103 million cars.

Also Read: Famous Bridges in New York

The bridge was designed by engineers Othmar Ammann, Allston Dana, and Edward W. Stearns and carries 14 lanes, with seven lanes in each direction. Because of this, the bridge has the highest number of vehicular lanes worldwide than any other suspension bridge.

The bridge has two decks, with the upper deck containing eight lanes and the lower level containing six lanes. The upper deck was opened in 1931, while the lower level was opened in 1962.

If you have used the bridge, then you may have noticed the free-flying American flag. It is the biggest American flag, measuring 90 feet by 60 feet, and was erected in honor of the victims of 9/11.

8. Bixby Creek Bridge

Bixby Creek Bridge

The song “Death Cab for Cutie” by Narrow Stairs was inspired by this breathtaking arch bridge along the coast of California. It is among the most photographed features in the world and has been featured in TV ads, postcards, music videos, and films.

The bridge’s parabolic arch shape, its location on the California Central Coast, the architectural piers, and the tall spandrel columns are just some of the features that give this bridge its intense and aesthetic appearance.

The bridge cost more than $20 million and measures 714 feet in length, 24 feet wide, with a clearance of 260 feet under it. While there are many places you can view the bridge from, the best is in the pullout lane near the south end.

9. Royal Gorge Bridge

Royal Gorge Bridge

The Royal Gorge Bridge is a tourist attraction site near Colorado. The bridge is located within the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. From 1929 to 2001, it was considered the highest bridge in the world, standing at 956 feet above the Arkansas River until the Liuguanghe Bridge in China surpassed it.

Designed by George E. Cole, the bridge’s total length is 1260 feet and 15 feet wide. The towers supporting it are about 150 feet tall, and the walkway is made of 1292 wooden planks, supported by a steel base.

The bridge was constructed in just six months, from June to November 1929, costing $350,00. Initially, it was simply constructed as a tourist attraction and not for transportation purposes. But later on, passenger vehicles were allowed to pass, but only at certain times. That is before the park opens and after it closes. Large vehicles like buses, RVs, and trucks are not allowed to cross.

You can do many activities on the bridge, including ziplining or a ride on the sky coaster. You can also simply enjoy the majestic views the bridge has to offer.

10. Delaware Memorial Bridge

Delaware Memorial Bridge

The Delaware Memorial Bridge connects Delaware and New Jersey, crossing the Delaware River. It is made of two suspension bridges which are an amazing spectacle, especially at night when cars are passing.

After a lot of pressure from commuters, the first bridge was constructed in 1959, and the second one followed in 1968.

The reason it is called a memorial bridge is that it is dedicated to New Jersey and Delaware natives who died in the Korean War, Persian Gulf War, World War II, and the Vietnam War. On the side of the bridge, you will also find a war memorial. Aside from that, annual celebrations are also held on Veterans Day and Memorial Day at the war memorial.