Sky Bridge

5. LANGKAWI SKY BRIDGE, SINGAPORE
This amazing curved bridge is located in Malaysia. It is a pedestrian-only, cable-stayed structure; no cars allowed! The bridge crosses the Gunung Mat Chinchang valley area. It measures 125 meters long and 1.8 meters wide. It’s curved design serves to make the most of the view from several different perspectives and either side of the bridge along the way.
The Langkawi Sky Bridge features a large observation deck located 2,170 feet above sea level. The bridge connects with the peak of Gunung Mat Chinchang, on the archipelago island of Pulau Langkawi. Currently an inclinator is being constructed which will carry visitors from the bridge to the top station of the bridge itself. The top station is accessed via the Langkawi Cable Car. At the present time, while the inclinator is being built, a 15-20 minute walk along a temporary mountain track is necessary to reach the bridge.
In July 2012 the bridge was closed for some upgrades and general maintenance. It reopened in February of 2015. It is now fully accessible but only by using the steep mountain pathway, pending completion of the inclinator. The bridge’s unique architectural design allows for a variety of panoramic views as the curving feature provides different vantage points from either side of the bridge.
The bridge is suspended from an 81.5 meter-high, lone pylon by 8 steel cables. It is suspended approximately 100 meters above the ground. A concreted pad, set at 604.5 meters above the ground, holds the pylon. It’s tip reaches 686 meters above sea level. It is inclined at 2° and 78° in two directions, and is supported by a pair of steel cables. The bridge has a maximum capacity limit of 200 people at a time. It was completed in just 12 months, from August 2003 to August 2004. It has successfully passed every safety inspection it has undergone with no safety concerns reported whatsoever.
The middle of the Langkawi Sky Bridge’s walkway features a 10-meter long glass walkway so that visitors can look down at the valley directly below their feet. The bridge’s design makes it impossible to fall off. It features double solid steel railings on either side and an expanse of steel wire mesh beneath it. The Langkawi Sky Bridge is considered to be one of the engineering marvels of the world. Every single factor of this one-of-a-kind creation had to be designed with the ultimate precision constantly in mind in order for everything to suspend, balance, and work together perfectly. The bridge was actually pre-fabricated and each section lifted by helicopter to it’s location along the bridge. Then each section was fitted into the proper spot in the pylon. Any and every aspect that could possibly affect the sky bridge based on it’s design had to be taken into consideration: winds, storms, shifting that was worked into it’s design. There had to be no doubt that the bridge would be safe and sturdy no matter the weather conditions.
The final scene of the Indian movie titled Don: The Chase Begins Again was filmed on the Langkawi Sky Bridge. After that a lot of movies have been filmed here. It is so cinematic!

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Golden Gate Bridge

4.THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous and easily-recognizable bridges in the world. It is called the “Golden Gate” because it stretches across the three-mile long, one-mile wide expanse of water where the San Francisco Bay opens out into the Pacific Ocean. The American Society of Civil Engineers has declared the bridge one of the modern Wonders of the World. It is believed to be the most photographed bridge in the world.
Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge began in 1933. It was completed in 1937. Until 1964, it held the distinction of being the longest main-span suspension bridge in the world at 4,200 feet. In 1916, an article in theSan Francisco Bulletin by a former engineering student, James Wilkins, proposed the idea for a bridge that would span the Golden Gate expanse. Of course this was not a new concept by any means, but Wilkins took his idea a step further and asked bridge engineers if such a bridge could be built for less than the $100 million estimated by the San Francisco City Engineer. An engineer named Joseph Strauss responded. At that time, Strauss had designed and seen completed 400 drawbridges, mainly inland, but nothing near the magnitude of the Golden Gate Bridge project. Strauss studied, designed, and came up with a proposal which would cost $17 million to complete. It was determined that a suspension bridge design would be the most practical due to the recent advances in metallurgy.
The name “Golden Gate Bridge” was first applied to the project in 1917, when the project was first discussed. It was coined by the San Francisco city engineer M.M. O’Shaughnessy, and Strauss himself. A division of the Los Angeles Plumber came up from Southern California to help with the plumbing running under the bridge. The name was made official in 1923 when California state legislature passed the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District Act. This created an exclusive district to design, erect, and finance the bridge. Although Strauss was named the chief engineer in charge of the design and construction, responsibility for a great deal of the architecture and engineering fell upon other engineering experts. This was because Strauss had very limited understanding of or experience working with cable-suspension architectural designs. The basic shape of the bridge’s towers, it’s artistic elements, and it’s lighting scheme were all designed by a relatively unknown architect by the name of Irving Morrow. The bridge’s famous International Orange color was initially used as a sealant. The Navy had recommended that it be painted with bold yellow and black stripes to make sure it would be highly visible to ships.
The bridge officially opened on May 27, 1937. The celebration lasted for a week. On the day before vehicle traffic was allowed on the bridge, more than 200,000 people crossed it on foot or wearing roller skates. The song, “There’s a Silver Moon on the Golden Gate” was named the official song to commemorate the event. Have you ever been to the Golden Gate Bridge? You see the bridge in so many movies but you will never quite appreciate it until you actually visit the San Francisco and Marin County and actually stand on the bridge and look up at the big beautiful rusty arches!

Tower Bridge

3. TOWER BRIDGE, LONDON, ENGLAND
Located on the famed Thames River in London, the Tower Bridge was opened on June 30, 1894 by King Edward VII. It is also known informally as London Bridge. The bridge was designed by Wolfe Barry and Horace Jones. It’s design includes a pair of massive towers near either end of the bridge. It’s construction took 8 years, 5 contractors and 432 laborers to complete. The two pillars have their foundations set deep into the Thames River. Over 11,000 tons of steel were required to build the towers and the bridge’s walkways along with the Portland stone and granite which make up the towers.
Tower Bridge was originally designed and constructed on a level spanning over the River Thames. As the number of people using the bridge increased, updated versions were designed and constructed until the current design was settled upon.
The bridge is 60 meters high and each of the two towers stands at a height of 43 meters. The middle section of the bridge is operated by a powerful hydraulics system which raises each of the massive halves of the bridge to allow river traffic to pass through underneath. At times, this has occurred as many as 50 times per day.
Despite having two massive towers as part of it’s design, the architecture actually had nothing to do with the name of Tower Bridge’s name. It is in fact named after the famous – and infamous – Tower of London. The Tower of London is located at one end of the bridge, and the bridge’s design was actiually influenced by that of the Tower.
The bridge features open-air walkways high abve the main level which are notorious for being inhabited by unsavory types, such as pickpockets, prostitutes, and other scandalous characters. This was mainly due to the fact that the walkways were accessibleonly by long staircases within the towers. These were seldom utilized by “normal” pedestrians. The walkways and stairways were closed down in 1910. They reopened in 1982 during the Tower Bridge Exhibition, a showing presented in the towers, the Victorian engine rooms, and on the walkways themselves.
Over 40,000 people cross Tower Bridge every day. In order to maintain the structure’s integrity, the City of London Corporation imposes a speed restriction of 20 miles per hour and an 18-ton weight limit on all vehicles traveling on the bridge. The current version of Tower Bridge was designed by engineers Mott, Hoy and Anderson and architect Lord Holford. It’s construction took place from 1967 to 1972 and was done by contractors John Mowlem and Co. On March 17, 1973. On that day Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the new Tower Bridge.
Tower Bridge joins Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and The Tower of London, as the main tourist sites in London. There are several exciting and unique activities involving Tower Bridge that attract tourists by the tens of thousands every year. Visitors can even prearrange to actually be on the bridge when it raises to allow boats to pass underneath on the River Thames. At night when the bridge is illuminated, it is considered to be one of the most beautiful architectural sites in the world.

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Sydney Harbour

THE SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
The Sydney Harbour Bridge, nicknamed “The Coathanger”, opened on March 19, 1932, after six years of construction. The surface area of the bridge, which requires cosmetic work such as painting alone, is the equivalent of 60 football fields. The steel bridge is held together by six million rivets, all hand-driven. It also features huge hinges to absorb the expansion which is a result of the hot sun in Australia. The hinges are visible from both sides of the bridge from the Pylons footings.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the largest steel arch bridge in the world. It is 1149 meters in length with an arch span of 503 meters. The highest point of the arch is 134 meters above sea level. The steelwork weighs in at 52,800 tons, with 39,000 tons of that weight being the arch alone. The deck, measuring 49 meters wide, gives the bridge the distinction of being the widest longspan bridge in the world. It features 8 lanes for vehicle traffic, two train lines, a cycleway and a footway.
The four main bearings’ foundations support the total weight of it’s main span. They are embedded at a depth of 12.2 meters and are filled in with a high grade of specially reinforced concrete. The concrete foundations are laid out in hexagonal formations. Each of the bridge’s four decorative pylons measures 89 meters high and are constructed of concrete faced with granite. The material was mined from a quarry near Moruya in New South Wales. Three super-strong ships were built for the sole purpose of transporting the 18,000 cubic meters of granite the 300 km to it’s Sydney destination once it was cut, dressed, and numbered.
The official opening day celebration on Saturday, March 19, 1932, was celebrated with floats, marching bands, and a crowd of somewhere in between 300,000 and one million people, spanned the entire city of harbour foreshores.
In 1932, the total cost of the bridge’s construction ridge was several million Australian pounds. In 1988 the Bridge debt was officially paid in full, and a toll system was set into place the toll to raise funds to be used for maintenance.
Some interesting Fun Facts about the Sydney Harbour bridge include:
• Before becoming famous as movie character Crocodile Dundee, actor Paul Hogan worked as a rigger on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
• It took the first 500 million vehicles took over 33 years to cross the bridge. The second 500 million took just over 10 years. The one billionth vehicle crossed over the bridge in June of 1976.
• The Sydney Harbour Bridge’s construction required the demolition of about 800 homes. The families living in those homes received no compensation whatsoever for their loss.
• The average daily traffic on the bridge in 1932, in both directions, was approximately 10,900 vehicles. In 1943 that number dropped to approximately 8,600 vehicles per day. This decrease was due to a shortage of both vehicles and fuel, which was being rationed, due to the war.
• The bridge was safety-tested by using 96 steam locomotives, all in different configurations. It is believed that the bridge is actually capable of supporting even more weight than that, but the theory has not been tested to date.

Ponte Vecchio

1. PONTE VECCHIO, FLORENCE, ITALY
The Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge, was built in 1345, replacing the previous one which had been built in 1218 and for many years was the only bridge spanning the Arno River in Florence, Italy. The Ponte Vecchio was one of the very few structures not destroyed by the Germans, who destroyed all of the bridges in Florence as they fled the area during World War II. Rather, they chose to destroy several historic medieval buildings on either side of the bridge in order to block forces pursuing them. When the Arno came out of it’s banks in November 1966, the Ponte Vecchio remained unharmed, much to the great surprise and even greater relief of the residents nearby.

The bridge served as a route for passage when the Medici relocated from the Palazzo Vecchio (basically the town hall of Florence) to the Palazzo Pitti until the construction of the Corridoio Vasariano in 1565 by Giorgio Vasari. This was done in order that the Medici would not have to come into contact with those whom they ruled over as they traveled from one side of the Arno to the other.Since the 13th century, various shops have been located directly on the Ponte Vecchio. In early times these businesses included fishmongers and butcher shops, followed later by tanners whose “work-related” waste products drew complaints due to the overwhelming stench they caused in the entire area. This led Ferdinand I to issue a decree in 1593 allowing only jewelers and goldsmiths to be permitted to have shops on the bridge, so that the area would meet with the approval of all.The Ponte Vecchio’s design is made up of a trio of segmented arches.

The center arch spans 98 feet and each of the flanking arches spans 89 feet. The arches rise to 14 1/2 feet and 11 1/2 feet, respectively.It is believed that the economic term “bankruptcy” originated from an incident on this bridge involving one of the merchants who did business there. It is said that when the business owner was not able to pay his debts, soldiers destroyed the table on which he displayed his merchandise. The table, or banco, was broken, or rotto, meaning literally “broken bank”. Without his display table table, the merchant was unable to stay in business.

He was “banco rotta”.Today, the bridge is impassable by vehicles, as it is still filled with shops and therefore only accessible on foot. One of the most famous points of the Ponte Vecchio is it’s popularity in modern times as a tourist spot where friends and lovers affix padlocks to a section of the bridge’s walkway and then throw the key into the Arno River below as a symbol of their lasting relationship. No one is certain exactly when or why this activity began in Florence, although there are instances of the same type of practice taking place in Asia and Russia as well, but it is now punishable by a €160 fine by city administration, as the great weight and addition of tens of thousands of padlocks has begun to show signs of damaging the ancient structure.