As civilization spreads, so does the need to have inter-connectivity for commuting. Roads have been built in and through the remotest of places to serve this purpose. Highways and Interstates are developed to allow mobility, especially in the vast countrysides of America. Even where bodies of water disallow the roads, engineering feats construct bridges that fill the gaps and enable continuous driving. Take, for instance, the remarkable Manchac Swamp Bridge.
Today, we are going to talk all about the Manchac Swamp Bridge. Is it some record-holding bridge? Is it an engineering feat? Is it expensively built? Does it have some spooky legend? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. This bridge we are talking about has it all!
Facts and Figures
The Manchac Swamp Bridge, in the U.S. state of Louisiana, is the longest bridge in the world built on water, while its impressive length also makes it one of the longest bridges on the planet. It spreads 22.8 miles over the Manchac Swamp and makes up one-third of Interstate 55. It is also part of U.S. Route 51. This bridge was opened up for the public in 1979.
This bridge was designed in a combined effort of 600 experts and took ten years to plan. Many of its off-shore pieces were constructed on land and then transported to sea. The bridge is built upon pillars that are driven 250 feet under the swamp. This raised the construction cost, with each mile of bridge constructed for about $7million ($20 million in 2020), which drove the total cost to over $161 million (460 million). The first bridge, constructed in 1976, collapsed and was reconstructed and opened in 1979 for highway traffic. The National Transportation Safety Board report stated that the collapse was due to inadequate weight capacity caused by a design error.
The swamp this bridge is built upon is said to be haunted by Rougarou, a beast from Cajun folklore with a man’s body and the head of a wolf or dog. He prowls Louisiana swamps looking for misbehaving children. Furthermore, it is also said to be haunted by a voodoo princess, known as Julia Brown, who cursed the surrounding area. Documented sources have one disturbing line from her songs she sang, ”One day I’m going to die and take the whole town with me.” On the day of her funeral in 1915, a hurricane showed up from nowhere and swept away three prosperous towns.
Today, the Manchac Swamp Bridge is sound and entirely safe for travel despite the infamous legends and myths. 2,250 drivers daily use it, and the best part is that it is the longest bridge in the world that is toll-free. So, gear up to enjoy a beautiful ride across the vast expanse of water and chilly air blowing in your face, or if you are ‘lucky’ enough, to experience a sighting of The Voodoo Princess.
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