Suspension bridges utilize a distinct type of architectural style to support massive amounts of weight across large bodies of water.
Many of the most famous bridges in the world are built using suspension systems, which have been popular since the suspension bridge was invented by John Roebling in 1841.
In this article, we will examine some of the most famous suspension bridges that have been built throughout the world, as well as the architects behind their designs.
Famous Suspension Bridges
1. Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge
The Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge is known as one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. It’s located in a coastal section of Japan that connects Awaji Island to Kobe, which is one of the country’s largest metropolitan areas.
The Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge was designed by Satoshi Kashima, a Japanese civil engineer who is best-known for his work in creating the design for the bridge, which at the time was the longest suspension bridge in the world.
Construction on the bridge began in 1988 and the project dragged on for an entire decade before it was finally finished in 1998.
The Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge stretches across the Akashi Strait and measures an astounding 12,831 feet from one end to the other.
It remained the longest suspension bridge in the world until the construction of the 1915 Çanakkale Bridge, which opened in Turkey in 2022.
2. Golden Gate Bridge
California’s Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous structures on Earth. It’s one of the most-visited tourist destinations for those visiting the Golden State and the San Francisco area.
The bridge was designed by Leon Solomon Moisseiff, a prominent engineer who had garnered a notable reputation for himself during the early 20th century for designing and building suspension bridges.
The Golden Gate Bridge is known for its distinct red color and it stretches across the Moisseiff worked alongside Charles Ellis and Joseph Strauss.
The Golden Gate Bridge’s length measures 8,980 feet across the San Francisco Bay, which is known to experience thick fog and choppy seas from time to time.
The bridge was built under the supervision of Irving Morrow, who oversaw the construction from 1933 until its completion in 1937.
3. Brooklyn Bridge
New York City is widely recognized as one of the most populated areas in the United States. It’s full of landmarks and historic structures, including the Brooklyn Bridge, which is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the country.
The bridge was designed by John Augustus Roebling, a German-born architect who was recognized as one of the most notable designers of suspension bridges in the world during the mid-19th century.
Construction on the Brooklyn Bridge started in 1869 and the massive project took more than a decade to complete as it was finished in 1883.
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the more iconic suspension bridges in the world as it features large, elaborately-designed brick pillars and has maintained its original design since it was first completed.
4. Clifton Suspension Bridge
Bristol, England is one of the country’s oldest cities that’s filled with historic landmarks from the past.
One of the most notable tourist destinations and famous suspension bridges in this part of England is the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which stretches across the River Avon.
It is somewhat small compared to many of the world’s other famous suspension bridges, but the Clifton Suspension Bridge’s 1,352 feet is well-known for its elaborate decoration on the interior section and intricate lighting that illuminates the bridge at night.
The bridge was designed by a plan created by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, one of the most notable English engineers during the mid-19th century.
Construction on the bridge was supervised by William Henry Barlow and John Hawkshaw, two of the more notable engineers in England during the 1860’s. The Clifton Suspension Bridge was finished in 1864 and has remained one of the most famous suspension bridges in the world.
5. Xihoumen Bridge
The Xihoumen Bridge is one of the most well-known suspension bridges in China as it connects Cezi Island with Jintang Island and stretches over Hangzhou Bay.
The bridge was a project that was managed by the China Communications Construction Company, who developed the project’s designs and handled construction.
The project began in December of 2007 and finished in December of 2009 before opening to the public.
It has since become a heavily-used bridge that is one of the more well-known suspension bridges as it connects the largest offshore island group in China to the country’s mainland.
The Xihoumen Bridge measures at 5,413 feet from one end to the other across the Hangzhou Bay.
6. Humber Bridge
Another one of England’s most well-known suspension bridges is also one of the country’s largest and longest.
The Humber Bridge sits across the Humber tidal estuary, which is located on the eastern coast of northern England. It was designed based on plans drawn up by Ralph Freeman, who was recognized as one of the most prominent bridge architects in the world during the mid-20th century.
Construction on the Humber Bridge started in the late 1970’s and was completed in 1981 before opening to the public.
At the time of its opening, the bridge was recognized as the longest suspension bridge in the world, a title which it held until 1998 when the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge was finished.
The Humber Bridge attracts many millions of tourists each year to the northern part of England to view the massive structure and it has been featured in a number of films and photographs since it was built.
7. Tsing Ma Bridge
Hong Kong is a special administrative district in southern China that sits on the Pearl River Delta and shares coastline with the South China Sea.
The Tsing Ma Bridge is a large structure that connects the island of Tsing Yi with the nearby island of Ma Wan. The bridge was designed in the late 1980s by Mott MacDonald, one of the world’s most prestigious bridge construction architectural firms.
Construction on the Tsing Ma Bridge began in May of 1992 and was overseen by Anglo Japanese Construction Joint Venture.
The project was finished after five years of arduous labor and planning and the Tsing Ma Bridge opened in 1997. It measures 4,518 feet and is recognized as one of the longest suspension bridge structures in the world.
At the time of its completion in 1997, the Tsing Ma Bridge was listed as the second-longest suspension bridge in the world behind the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge.
8. Mackinac Bridge
The United States is home to a handful of suspension bridges that are often recognized as prominent landmarks in the areas where they are constructed.
Such is the case with the Mackinac Bridge, which is located in the northern part of the midwest. It connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan and stretches across the Straits of Mackinac, which is one of the largest freshwater straits in the world and spans more than 3 miles from one side to the other.
The Mackinac Bridge was designed by David B. Steinman, a prominent American engineer who grew up in New York City and was inspired in his youth to design and build suspension bridges after seeing the Brooklyn Bridge.
Construction on the Mackinac Bridge began in May of 1954 and the project would only take roughly 3 years to complete before it opened to the public in 1957.
At the time, the cost of the project was a whopping $44 million and the bridge measures a staggering 26,372 feet in total from one end to the other.
9. Osmangazi Bridge
The Middle East is well-known for its region being mostly desert plains and rugged mountains, which makes the bridges found throughout the countries in this region extremely important to travelers of all kinds.
The Osmangazi Bridge is one of the most famous suspension bridges in the world and is located in Kocaeli, Turkey. The bridge stretches across the Gulf of Izmit and was designed by the Japanese firm IHI Corporation, otherwise known as Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.
Construction on the project began in March of 2013 and took just over 5 years to complete before the Osmangazi Bridge was opened to the public in June of 2016.
It measures a length of 8,799 feet, making it one of the longest suspension bridges in Turkey, as well as the 7th longest suspension bridge in the world as of 2022.
10. Tower Bridge
One of the most elegantly-designed and visually stunning suspension bridges in the world is the Tower Bridge, located in London, England.
This historic bridge sits atop the world-famous River Thames and is aptly-named since it features two prominent towers on either side of the bridge’s midpoint.
It was designed by London-based architect, Horace Jones, who worked with John Wolfe Barry and Henry Marc Brunel to complete the project.
The bridge is only 800 feet in length and it was finished in the summer of 1886. The Tower Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in the city of London.