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This human ingenuity medley has something for everyone We’ve got bridges that rise, that submerge, that fold up, that swing up and down and one that lifts the boats. Then a scattering of amusing human moments and some mind-bending images to wake you up.
First a bridge that lifts
SUBMERSIBLE BRIDGES IN THE CORINTH CANAL, GREECE
The Corinth Canal was built between 1881 and 1893 to save ships a 700 km (435mile) journey because they no longer needed to go around the Peloponnesian peninsula. It’s very narrow and can only accommodate one ship at a time. The submersible bridges were built in 1988 and their decks are lowered 8 meters (26ft) below the water, allowing for tall shipping vessels to use the canal.
Kiel Germany’s Horn River features a folding bridge, in three-segments. The innovative bridge folds into an “N” shape. The bridge is nicknamed Klappt-Nix-Brücke, meaning Fold-not Bridge because initially it experienced many malfunctions.
The Vizcaya Bridge in Biscay, Spain connects the two towns of Portugalete and Las Arenas over the Ibaizabal River. The locals refer to the bridge as Puente Colgante, meaning suspension bridge, even though it is a transporter bridge, with a different structure. This bridge also happens to be the world’s oldest transporter bridge, as it was built in 1893. Its gondola can transport six cars, as well as passengers and cyclists.
The River Hull footbridge in Yorkshire, UK rotates while pedestrians are still on it. The bridge takes two minutes to open or close for water traffic and offers pedestrians a unique experience of the city. At night, the bridge’s lights turn on and off while the bridge moves, making a light show.
The Gateshead Millennium Bridge in the UK has a deck for pedestrians and cyclists, and a supporting arch. The bridge rotates as a single structure, with the arch lowering and the deck rising, counterbalancing each other, forming a pathway for water traffic.
Egypt’s El Ferdan Railway Bridge, rests over the Suez Canal and connects the Sinai Peninsula with mainland Egypt. This bridge is 335m (1,100 feet) and is the world’s longest swing bridge. It takes 30 minutes to open or close. It remains open for water traffic and is only closed when the train needs to cross the canal.
The Falkirk Wheel is the only rotating boat lift in the world and connects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. Opened in 2002, it lifts (or lowers) boats 24 meters enabling the vessels (mostly recreational) to travel all the way from Edinburgh to Glasgow.
To get your mind warmed up:
Thanks to Jim for most of the bridges on this page. Also to: Sam, Jill, John, Anita, Wim, George