Even experienced drivers and motorists are scared to cross this bridge.

Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, a monumental engineering achievement, secured its place in history in 1969 when Guinness World Records officially recognized it as the longest bridge over water globally. For more than 60 years, the causeway has proudly held onto this title, overcoming challenges and controversies along the way.

Built in response to the growing transportation needs of New Orleans in the 1940s and 1950s, the causeway’s first two-lane span was completed in a remarkable 14 months, opening to the public in 1956 with a total length of 23.86 miles. Its sheer length is so extensive that drivers lose sight of land for an eight-mile stretch, an experience that has, at times, triggered seaborne fears among motorists.

Over the years, the causeway has witnessed extraordinary events, from babies being born on its expanse due to untimely hospital arrivals to an airplane safely landing on the bridge after running out of fuel over Lake Pontchartrain.

As daily traffic surpassed 5,300 vehicles a decade after the completion of the first bridge, plans were initiated to expand the causeway. In 1969, a second two-lane span was added, separated from the original by about 84 feet. This expansion led to the causeway officially clinching the Guinness World Record for the longest bridge over water.

However, in 2011, a contender emerged in the form of China’s Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, boasting a total length of 26.5 miles. While it seemed the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway might lose its title, a dispute arose regarding the criteria used by Guinness, which included aggregate structures like land bridges and an undersea tunnel in its measurements – elements not truly “over water.”

To resolve the controversy, Guinness introduced two new categories. Lake Pontchartrain Causeway was named the “longest bridge over water (continuous),” while the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge became the “longest bridge over water (aggregate).” Although subsequent bridges have claimed the title, such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge in 2018, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway remains the world’s longest bridge continuously over water.

Commuters traversing the causeway from the Metairie suburb of New Orleans to Mandeville on the northern shores of Lake Pontchartrain continue to marvel at this remarkable engineering feat. Tolls, collected on the north shore for southbound traffic only, amount to $5 in cash and $3 for tags used with the electronic toll collection system. A bascule drawbridge at the 16.0-mile marker facilitates water traffic passing under the causeway, adding to its legacy as an enduring symbol of ingenuity.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *