Traveling across this vast world is getting easier and easier everyday thanks to the efforts of some truly intrepid (or truly daft) engineers. Since the beginning of time, these crazy people have worked some real magic with numbers, architecture, and engineering to span some really jaw-dropping (and pants wetting) expanses. Sure, people have to get from one place to another, but looking at some of these bridges you have to wonder if there wasn’t a better direction that could have been taken. Here, for your consideration, are 15 of the world’s scariest bridges.
1. Royal Gorge Bridge, Colorado
Coming up on nearly 100 years in use, the Royal Gorge Bridge was built on the cheap in 1929. Up until the turn of the new millennium, this bad boy was the highest suspension bridge in the world, dangling precariously 956 feet above the Arkansas River. Dummies from across the world have flocked to the bridge to bungee jump or parachute from the bridge, including one poor fool, “in a wingsuit who attempted to fly over the bridge in 2003 but ran into a pylon, and was instantly killed.”
2. Vitim River Bridge, Siberia
This converted train bridge was built across one of Russia’s busiest tributaries, the Lena River. Covered in slick ice most of the year, the six feet wide bridge can barely fit one car at a time. The Vitim River Bridge is considered so treacherous that simply getting across it alive is an accomplishment. Seriously, “the 34 people who have done it created their own Facebook page.”
3. Bamboo Bridge, Cambodia
Located in Kampong Cham, a city in the East part of Cambodia, the Bamboo Bridge is the major means of access to a nearby island in the dryer seasons of the year. Even crazier, the Bamboo Bridge is rebuilt every year and is expected to hold hundreds of people at any given time. “The bridge has a framework made of bamboo sticks and a carpet of several layers of canes cut in halves extends over it, absorbing the impact of the vehicles.” Would you risk a crossing?
4. Captain William Moore Bridge, Alaska
Named for Captain William Moore, “a pilot, prospector, packer, trader and riverboat captain,” the bridge runs 110 feet over Moore Creek Gorge … and an active fault line. As a result of its location, the engineers who designed the bridge only anchored one side of the thing so that in the event of a ground shift, the bridge isn’t torn in half. How comforting.
5. Sidu River Bridge, Hubei Province, China
Let’s start here: the Sidu River Bridge is the current record holder for highest bridge in the world, “which hangs over 1,600 vertigo-inducing feet above a canyon floor, connecting what amounts to two mountaintops.” At just under a mile, the expanse between the two sides of the bridge was, “so long that the builders had to use a rocket to string the first pilot line across the gap.” If you have an innate fear of heights, you just might opt to take the long way around.
6. Hussaini Hanging Bridge, Pakistan
And you think your daily commute is stressful. How would you like to traverse this wildly swaying rickety footbridge across the raging Hunza River every day? It looks as if any of those twigs or ropes could snap at any moment, and leaping between the broken planks is a life-or-death risk.
7. Mackinac Bridge, Michigan
Michigan’s Mackinac Bridge is terrifying that some travelers refuse to even cross it. Known familiarly known as “Big Mac” and “Mighty Mac,” “Mackinac Bridge Authority has a Drivers Assistance Program that provides drivers for those uncomfortable with driving across the Mackinac Bridge. Those interested can arrange, either by phone or with the toll collector, to have their cars or motorcycles driven to the other end.” The reason for that is the bridge’s ability to swing more than 35 feet in high winds or inclement conditions.
8. Seven Mile Bridge, Florida
Sure, it might be terrifying to think of crossing a nearly 7-mile expanse across open water, but Floridians are super proud of the Seven Mile Bridge. What you’ve seen in movies is actually the second of two bridges constructed between 1978 and 1982. The original bridge was built more than a century ago and still stands in close proximity to its replacement. It, “now serves as a popular fishing & sunset watching spot and is home to a wide variety of wildlife– from fish and manatees to birds and butterflies.”
9. Quepos Bridge, Costa Rica
Meet the Quepos Bridge, a one-way path on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, that — shockingly — is fit for vehicular travel. And, if crossing this rickety little bridge wasn’t terrifying enough, it’s also a popular hang out spot for, ahem, the local wildlife.
10. Brave Men’s Bridge, Hunan Province, China
As if the 600 ft. height over the valley wasn’t terrifying enough, they went and made this suspension bridge out of plexiglass. It feels like you’re walking on air and about to plummet every step you take. The fact that you simultaneously sway with the wind doesn’t help matters.
11. Millau Viaduct, France
Leave it to the French to do horrifying with style. Running across France’s River Tarn, the Millau Viaduct runs more than a mile and a half across a massive gorge. “A cable-stayed, masted structure, the bridge is delicate, transparent, and has the optimum span between columns. Its construction broke several records: it has the highest pylons in the world, the highest road bridge deck in Europe, and it superceded the Eiffel Tower as the tallest structure in France.”
12. Lake Ponchartrain Causeway Bridge, Louisiana
At a staggering 24 miles long, the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway Bridge holds the Guinness Record for longest continuous bridge over water in the world. It’s reputation for unnerving drivers heading north out of New Orleans is widespread. Though it’s held up by 9,500 concrete pilings, that hardly seems like enough.
13. Confederation Bridge, PEI, Canada
Canada’s 8-mile-long Confederation Bridge links Prince Edward Island with mainland New Brunswick. More intimidating than the length of the bridge is the frigid waters over which it runs. The longest curved bridge running over ice-covered water, the bridge’s engineers designed a revolutionary way of dealing with Mother Nature: “Bridge designers developed a 52 degree conical ice shield located on the pier shaft to break up the ice. This ice shield actually lifts the ice flow up so it breaks on its own weight.”
14. Eshima Ohashi Bridge, Japan
It’s not merely enough for the Eshima Ohashi Bridge to rise and fall with the sudden arcs of a rollercoaster. No, this scary bridge that connects the Japanese cities of Matsue and Sakaiminato also has undulations in the road on the way down. Nearly a mile long, the Eshima Ohashi Bridge is built that way so that fishing boats can pass under with ease.
15. Shansha Bridge, India
While it may not be the most awe-inspiring bridge, simply getting across India’s Shansha’s Bridge is a real accomplishment. The bridge is considered in “very poor condition,” the rough gravel path of the Tandi-Kishtwar Road gives way only to the half-rotted wood of the bridge. Every creak is enough to give you a heart attack.