Facts about the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway

Ashley | 17 - 08 - 2020

Lake Pontchartrain bridge holds the Guinness World record for the longest bridge over water in the USA since 1969. This causeway is located in Southern Louisiana and has two parallel bridges. How long is the bridge over Lake Pontchartrain? The length of the bridge is 23.83 miles. Both bridges rest on 9,500 concrete pilings, each has a diameter of 55 inches. It was the first-ever bridge to be constructed with hollow concrete pilings. 

In 2011, China claimed that its Jiaozhou Bay Bridge(26.5 miles) was the longest spanning water. Hence Guinness World Record split the title into two and created two categories. The Jiaozhou Bay Bridge was decided as the longest bridge over water in the USA in aggregate as some of the parts of the bridge not exactly over water, land bridges and sea tunnels interrupted the continuity of the bridge. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway still holds the record for the world’s longest bridge over water(continuous). The southern terminus of the bridge is in Metairie, Louisiana and the northern terminus of the bridge is in Mandeville, Louisiana. 

New Orleans expanded in the 1940s and 1950s, access to the north of the city was not possible because of Lake Pontchartrain. People have to travel around the lake in order to reach the other side of the lake. Hence the Pontchartrain Causeway was built so that the travelers could pass by the lake easily. In 1955, The Louisiana Bridge Company was given the responsibility for the construction of the Causeway, the project was successful and the bridge was built in just 14 months, the total cost of the bridge was $46 million and was opened in 1956. But after the construction of the bridge, many people were afraid of seaborne fear and did not want to travel through the bridge. Many babies were delivered in the bridge because it was very long to reach the hospital. The bridge was so long that people could not see land for 8 miles in any direction and it took almost 1 hour to cross the bridge.  

1. How Long Is the Causeway Bridge?
  • A. 23.83 miles
  • B. 24.83 miles
  • C. 25.83 miles
  • D. 26.83 miles

After a decade, due to heavy traffic, another bridge was built parallel to the existing bridge. Hence with a gap of 84 feet, another bridge was built in 1969 with a cost of $30 million. This is when it was not noticed and was declared as the longest bridge over water in the world. At a 16 mile mark, bascule drawbridge is located in order to avoid the water traffic under the bridge. 

When the bridge was opened more than 50,000 vehicles used the bridge annually. Currently, over 12 million vehicles cross the bridge every year and daily vehicle count is more than 36,000 recently. Though it is one of the easiest ways to cross the bridge, there were also major accidents since its construction. In 2015 alone, there were around 128 traffic accidents and 2000 breakdown while crossing the bridge. 

The American Society of Civil Engineers marked the Pontchartrain Causeway as a National historic civil engineering landmark. Annually, $16 million is generated by the toll. Every month, the bridge police write around 1,100 citations. These are some interesting facts about the longest bridge in America, Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.

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