file under: coolest bridge ever

le viaduc de millauArchitect Norman Foster’s Viaduc de Millau is the tallest bridge in the world, with the summit of its highest mast towering 1,125 ft above the base – making it the tallest structure in all of France. A cable-stayed bridge – meaning cables attached to pylons support the roadway – it spans the valley of the River Tam for one and a half miles along a road deck 900 ft above the ground.  Ranked as one of the great engineering achievements of all time, it’s exhilarating to drive across. And yet the true magnitude of the achievement only becomes clear at a distance: joining two massive geological plateaus together.

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locks of (optimistic) love

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bouncing across the seine

There are many ways to cross the River Seine, but the inflatable trampoline bridge envisioned by Paris-based agency AZC will surely go down as one of the most enjoyable. Formed by three giant inflatable life-preserver modules—30 meters in diameter—strung together by cord and stretched with trampoline mesh, the bridge is set to be strategically located in relation to the Eiffel Tower, to give users both a release from gravity and a very unique view of the city. If it ever gets built this fanciful bridge will definitely take the pedestrian out of the daily commute. After all, qui se ressemble s’assemble!

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funny you don’t look seventy-five

Happy 75th Birthday to one of the classiest suspension structures ever to cross a body of water: San Francisco’s singular Golden Gate Bridge. Girl, you look good.

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because it’s there

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video: queen emma’s pontoons

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double dutch

Willemstad, the capital of Curaçao, was established by the Dutch in the mid-1600’s and recalls the quaint designs of Amsterdam, mixing traditional architectural styles with Caribbean accents and bright bold colors.  Divided by Santa Anna Bay, it’s a natural harbor, perfect for cruise ships and commerce – but not so great for anyone stranded across the water from each other in either Punda, “the point,” or Otrobanda, “the other side.”  Practical as ever, the Dutch solution to living on two sides of the bay was a bridge.  However to not obstruct the daily parade of merchant ships a little ingenuity was in order:  opened in 1888, the Queen Emma Bridge is the only floating pontoon bridge in the world.  Nicknamed “the swinging old lady,” check back tomorrow to see her in action.

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bridgewalking

The hallmark of this trip out west seems to be doing those things I’d never given myself the time to do.  Hiking the redwoods was one, Alcatraz was another. Sausalito, City Lights, Chinatown – all have at one point or another been on my Frisco to-do list.  Strangest of all:  I’d never walked the Golden Gate Bridge.  Til now.

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take the low road

Anyone planning on driving in or around the southern Russian city of Volgograd might want to take the low road, as it were.  Europe’s longest suspension bridge, which spans 4 miles across the Volga River, didn’t fair too well in strong winds the other day.  After visibly twisting, buckling and tossing cars into the breeze, the bridge was closed.  Plagued by delays and cost overruns, the thirteen-years-in-the-making structure can shave as much as 40 miles off a trip across the river and authorities insist with a frightening degree of certainty that it will reopen next week.  You might want to watch the video below – be sure to turn up the sound to hear what a mass of buckling steel sounds like – and take the advice of a woman quoted in Tuesday’s Moscow Times:  “I will still use it as needed, but I will keep the seat belt unbuckled and won’t lock the doors.”

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san fran snapshot: golden gates

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