Mackinac Bridge Authority

Spanning the Straits of Mackinac since 1957

Is the Mackinac Bridge still the longest suspension bridge in the world?

Posted on October 14th, 2016

 Answer:

Although the Mackinac Bridge remained one of the four longest suspension bridges for more than 40 years, several bridges built since 1998 have surpassed it. Suspension bridges are commonly measured by main span length which is the distance between towers. By this ranking, the Mackinac Bridge is currently the twenty fourth longest suspension bridge in the world, and the third longest suspension bridge in North America. However, due to the Mackinac Bridge’s long side spans it remains among the top five longest suspension bridges in the world in suspended length; and the longest in the western hemisphere measuring 7,400 ft from bent pier to bent pier. The suspended length is the length by which the bridge deck is only supported by the cables. By total length the Mackinac Bridge, at 5 miles long, remains one of the longest bridges of its kind. By comparison, the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge in Japan, which is currently considered the longest suspension bridge in the world with a main span length of 6,532 ft, is less than 2.5 miles long in total length.

Figure 1. Suspension bridges are often ranked according to the main span length, which is the length between towers. However, the total suspended length of a suspension bridge can include its side spans.

 

Table 1. Common ranking of suspension bridges of the world by main span length

Table 2. Ranking of suspension bridges in the Western Hemisphere by suspended lengths.

 

 

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