“the longest bridge in the world”
Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is one of the world's longest drives over a body of water and is an absolute must-drive when you visit New Orleans. Although the lake was named after Louis Phélypeaux, comte de Pontchartrain in 1699, it was his son Jérôme who vociferously championed the exploration, settlement and development of Louisiana. Jérôme served as France's Secretary of State of the Maison du Roi and Navy Minster from 1699, during the reign of Louis XIV, AKA "The Sun King". In fact, the state of Louisiana owes its namesake to King Louis as well. Created between 2,600 and 4,000 years ago, the Native Americans called the lake "Okwata", meaning "Wild Water." Lake Pontchartrain is bordered by six Louisiana parishes, including St. Tammany, Orleans, Jefferson, St. John the Baptist, St. Charles, and Tangipahoa. The lake has an average depth of 12-14 feet, and it technically isn't a "lake", but rather a brackish estuary that is home to various fish, shellfish, pelicans, ducks and other waterfowl. As far as American wetlands go, it's one of the largest in the country, and what a beauty. Along the edges of the lake grow ancient trees and lush Spanish moss. The Causeway's parallel bridge first opened in 1956 and then had a second grand opening in 1969. It's supported by 9,000 concrete pilings and spans an impressive 24 miles, making it the longest over-water bridge in the entire world. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is absolutely a marvel of American engineering, and an essenetial destination for anyone visiting Louisiana. In fact, the lake is a bit of a pop-culture icon, from the numerous songs written about it, to its appearance in literature such as Harriet Beecher-Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, Joe (son of Stephen King) Hill's Heart-Shaped Box, Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, as well as films likeThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the classic Shark Night 3D, and Lucio Fulci's cult horror classic, The Beyond. -Roadtrippers The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, sometimes only the Causeway, is a causeway composed of two parallel bridges crossing Lake Pontchartrain in southern Louisiana, United States. The longer of the two bridges is 23.83 miles (38.35 km) long. The southern terminus of the Causeway is in Metairie, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. The northern terminus is at Mandeville, Louisiana. Each weekday over 40,000 cars cross the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. The five-member GNOEC is the controlling body of the Causeway which includes the bridge system and the Causeway Approach road system on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Since 1969, it was listed by Guinness World Records as the longest bridge over water in the world; in 2011 in response to the opening of the allegedly longer Jiaozhou Bay Bridge in China, Guinness created two categories for bridges over water: continuous and aggregate lengths over water. Lake Pontchartrain Causeway then became the longest bridge over water (continuous) while Jiaozhou Bay Bridge the longest bridge over water (aggregate).The bridges are supported by 9,500 concrete pilings. The two bridges feature bascule spans over the navigation channel 8 miles (13 km) south of the north shore.
This is not for the feint of heart. This bridge is long and can be both boring and dangerous. In the morning, there is often a thick fog that necessitates the bridge to be reduced to one lane each way with a pace car to regulate the speed of travel to 30 mph. That means it will take over one hour to cross. If you travel in the morning, always give yourself an 75 minutes to cross unless it is very clear out. Additionally, there is a lot of speeding on the bridge. Fortunately, the bridge has it's own police force with multiple offices and lots of designed hiding spots and decoy cars to deter and catch speeders. While it is certainly a thrill at first, the bridge and it's boat crossing mountain climbs can be nerve wracking for the nervous driver. A final note, there is a height restriction for the bridge. Be sure not to have bicycles on top of your car or large boxes/ski boxes placing your vehicle above 7 feet tall. The toll is greatly increased.
Loooooong bridge. FYI: free going north; toll going south.
From the midpoint you cannot see the shore.
I always take the causeway on the way home (Tennessee) even though its a little out of the way, just because I love travelling it! I visit New Orleans a few times a year and its worth the extra mileage to drive over Lake Pontchartrain.
Pretty interesting and for several miles you cannot see land in either direction. When we went over it was a nice clear day, not too windy; but I can see how inclement weather could make the drive nerve wracking. Small toll going South but worth it to say you've been over the worlds longest straight bridge over open water.
It's actually a pretty cool drive early in the morning. I've never seen a toll booth anywhere on this bridge.
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Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
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