Many drivers do not dare to go through the longest bridge in the world

In 1969, the Pontchartrain overpass was officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the longest bridge on the water in the world.

As New Oleans expanded in the 1940s and 1950s, roads to the north of the city became a headache for locals. Those who come from the center to the north, or from the south to New Oleans, encounter the biggest obstacle is Lake Pontchartrain.

Lake Pontchartrain is about 1,630 km2 wide. Photo: NASA.

If traveling to the east or west of the city, the route around the lake takes a long time, so local officials plan to build a straight line through the center of the lake from the north to the south. In 1955, Louisiana Bridge and Road Company was established to carry out this project. It took them only 14 months to build the first two lanes with a total length of 38.4 km, opened in 1956.

The bridge is so long that motorcyclists may not be able to see the land when they travel about 12.8 km, while some car drivers are suddenly so scared of fear of the sea - that police have to escort them out of the bridge. There were also babies born on this bridge because mothers could not wait for an ambulance to arrive at the hospital on the other side of the lake. The most rare case is a small fuel-powered plane that landed safely on this bridge.

Bridge over Lake Pontchartrain. Photo: Road Trippers.

A decade after the completion of the first bridge, the traffic flow exceeded more than 5,300 vehicles a day. Officials plan to build a second bridge parallel to the original two-lane road. The second bridge was inaugurated in 1969, about 25 meters from the first route and only about 25 meters longer, but that was enough for the Pontchartrain bridge to attract the attention of the Guinness world record organization. The Pontchartrain Bridge was officially recognized as the longest bridge in the world - unrivaled - until 2011.

In 2011, Guinness claimed the title belonged to China's 46.5 km-long Giao Chau Bay Bridge. And in 2018, this record belongs to China once more with 55 km long Hong Kong - Zhuhai - Macau bridge. However, many people point out that these are not bridges that are completely above the water, due to the structure having an underwater tunnel.

The controversy caused Guinness to decide to separate the two categories more clearly. The bridge on Lake Pontchartrain becomes the longest bridge on the water (in terms of its continuous length), while the Giao Chau Bay Bridge becomes the longest bridge on the water (total length). Therefore, up to now, the bridge on Lake Pontchartrain has maintained its position as the longest continuous bridge on the water in the world for more than 60 years, since the completion of the first road.

Toll charges are collected on the north bank for vehicles originating from the south. Standard fees for cars are US $ 5 in cash, and US $ 3 with the electronic toll collection system. Photo: Giovanni Gagliardi.

Lake Pontchartrain is Louisiana's largest lake, but it is actually an estuary connecting the Gulf of Mexico with many other rivers and bays. It takes about 50 minutes to cross the lake bridge. Coming here, tourists have many options for dining, entertainment, shopping and outdoor sports activities such as boating, fishing, cycling ...

Fishing and boating on Lake Pontchartrain is a hobby for tourists and locals. Whether renting a boat or bringing it yourself, a day on the lake is an unforgettable experience. Every Wednesday night from March to November there will be a boat race on the lake. You can book a spot on the water along the lake to watch this race.

Around the lake are many attractions such as the New Canal Lighthouse Museum to learn about the history of the Pontchartrain, explore the lake and coastal basin ecosystems. The lighthouse was built in 1850 and restored after the super typhoon Katrina. In addition, along the lake there are many famous restaurants, visitors are spoiled for choice.

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