5 San Mateo-Hayward Bridge
While it’s not nearly as long as some of the bridges in the Deep South, northern California’s San Mateo-Hayward Bridge is impressive nonetheless. Spanning roughly 7 miles, this Bay Area beauty was once notorious as being part of the worst evening commute in the region. But in 2003, California funded an expansion project, bringing the bridge up from a measly four lanes to six. Commuters—as well as tourists—were thrilled when the expansion was completed in 2011.
4 Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
If you’re terrified of being completely trapped on a bridge or get uber-claustrophobic in closed spaces, you’ll want to avoid the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in Virginia. Part bridge, part tunnel; at 17.6 miles, the massive structure carries you from Norfolk to the Delaware Valley in no time. Prior to its grand opening in 1964, you had to travel by land, which took a daunting 1 1/2 hours.
3 Atchafalaya Basin Bridge
Get your camera ready and take a scenic drive over America’s largest swamp, courtesy of the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge: this 18.2-mile stretch connects Baton Rouge and Lafayette in Louisiana. This bridge was completed in 1971 and has been quite the hit with motorists. As of 2011, nearly 25,000 vehicles, trucks, vans and motorcycles cross over the mighty Atchafalaya each day.
2 Manchac Swamp Bridge
At just shy of 23 miles in length, the Manchac Swamp Bridge sweeps you across—as you might guess—Louisiana’s Manchac Swamp. This structure was quite costly at $7 million per mile, since workers had to drill the concrete piles more than 250 feet below the swampland just to stabilize the structure. But even though it finished construction all the way back 1979, it’s still one of the longest bridges in the world—and the second longest in the U.S.
1 Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
Sure, anyone can build a little bridge with land on either side. But a truly masterful architect can design a long bridge that primarily covers water. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway—constructed in 1956—holds a Guinness Book of World Records award for being the longest bridge over water in the entire world. Stretching nearly 24 miles across Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain, supposedly you can’t see land in any direction for a full eight-mile section of the bridge.