Louisiana, through her people and her places, posts some entries in the Guinness Book of World Records that are both fascinating and intriguing. For starters, the longest bridge over water in the world is Louisiana’s awe-inspiring Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. It’s a bridge known to cause anxiety and excitement in the breasts of would-be crossers in almost equal measure. But the Pelican State has a few other entries that may come as a surprise to many.
For instance, Sunkist Growers and Rouses Markets in January 2022 bagged the Guinness Book World Record for the largest display of citrus fruits—not in the state—but in the world. And in 2010, New Orleans set the world record for the largest Halloween gathering. But it is the bridge, the focus of this article, that is astounding. Further along, we’ll discover fascinating facts about Lake Pontchartrain Causeway that, among others, make it such a tempting destination.
Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Is The Largest Bridge Over Water
For starters, Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is 23.8 miles long. For perspective, that’s a distance that someone driving at 65 miles per hour will take 22 minutes to complete.
Someone walking at a moderate speed may set out at 8 in the morning—and reach the other side at 4:00 PM. No other bridge in the world comes close.
Of course, one may mention the 102-mile-long Danyang–Kunshan Grand Bridge in China or other sea bridges in the world known for their remarkable length. However, with all of these other bridges, the specific portion that runs above water is what really counts.
The bridges may therefore be long, yet the above-water portion usually falls short of the 23.8 miles that Lake Pontchartrain Causeway has set.
Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana
Yet, known simply as The Causeway, Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is not one bridge but actually two parallel bridges that cross Lake Pontchartrain in the southeastern region of Louisiana—and that run parallel to each other.
But the length of the bridges is just about the same. Only a negligible 0.01 mile makes up the difference. And of course, a causeway and a bridge are technically different structures.
But it’s needless to raise a storm. The major distinction between a bridge and a causeway is that the latter typically has little or no opening underneath. Nothing much would dampen the glory of one of Louisiana’s most historic landmarks.
Why Adrenaline Junkies Will Enjoy Driving The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
Crossing the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is one of the most exotic experiences anyone can ever have. With nothing but water on one side, even more water on the other, and miles and miles of a never-ending bridge, crossing the longest bridge over water will be both exciting and terrifying.
For perspective, just picture this. Someone has driven to the middle of the bridge. On either side, there is no land in sight for as far as the eyes can go. Instead, the dark, blue-green of the lake’s surface is all one is confronted with—and of course, the sound of rippling water.
While Lake Pontchartrain has a depth of only about 14 feet on average, nothing compared to Oregon’s Crater Lake, imagining what could go wrong here, will, even in the bravest, cause the heart to beat faster.
The feeling of being suspended between heaven and earth, with nothing but beautiful views, is an experience hard to put down in writing.
For many people, just getting to where no land can be seen is inconceivable. No stories about Columbus, Magellan, or Francis Drake will be able to calm the heart. But for others, it’s a thrilling experience that cannot be traded for anything in the world.
Other Fascinating Facts About Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
Aside from the fact that while crossing this bridge, motorists lose sight of land for an unsettling (or is it exciting) 8-mile stretch, there are other fascinating facts and factoids about the longest bridge in the world.
Of course, one of the most famous is the duel with China’s Jiaozhou Bay Bridge for a page in the Guinness Book of World Records.
- Where Does The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Begin And End? The southern terminus is in Metairie while the northern terminus is in Mandeville.
In July 2011, Guinness announced that China’s Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, which had just been completed, would replace Lake Pontchartrain Bridge as the longest bridge on the water.
Alarmed Louisianans would point out that China’s Jiaozhou Bay Bridge had sections that were, strictly speaking, not over water. Perplexed but convinced, Guinness would create two categories, a decision that satisfied each of the two protagonists.
The truth is that properties boasting the Guinness title, such as Virginia Beach, get much attention because of such awards. And today, motorists crossing The Causeway will feel like they are in the middle of the ocean for what seems like forever.