Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain Causeway holds the esteemed title of the longest bridge over water globally, as officially recognized by Guinness World Records. Constructed in 1956 by the Louisiana Bridge Company, this engineering marvel spans nearly 24 miles across Lake Pontchartrain, seamlessly linking the north and south regions of New Orleans.
Traveling across the causeway offers motorists a one-of-a-kind experience, as they traverse an eight-mile stretch where land disappears from view, occasionally sparking maritime apprehensions and necessitating police interventions. Remarkably, the causeway has witnessed extraordinary events, including instances where babies were born on its expanse due to mothers unable to reach hospitals in time, and even an airplane executing a safe landing after running out of fuel over the lake.
In 1969, the causeway underwent expansion with the addition of a parallel two-lane span, only marginally longer by approximately 50 feet. Nevertheless, this extension caught the attention of Guinness World Records, solidifying the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway’s status as the longest bridge over water globally.
However, in 2011, a contender emerged from China in the form of the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, threatening the causeway’s record. Yet, controversy ensued as Guinness’ measurement criteria included aggregate structures, such as land bridges and an undersea tunnel, which were not entirely “over water”. To address this discrepancy, Guinness introduced two new categories: the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway was labeled the “longest bridge over water (continuous)”, while the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge was designated the “longest bridge over water (aggregate)”.
Despite subsequent developments where the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge relinquished its title to the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway proudly retains its distinction as the world’s longest continuously over-water bridge. Spanning from Metairie in the south to Mandeville in the north, this iconic causeway remains a testament to human ingenuity and engineering prowess, with tolls collected for southbound traffic on the north shore. Notably, at the 16.0-mile marker, a bascule drawbridge facilitates water traffic passage beneath the causeway, further accentuating its multifaceted significance.