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Akashi Straights Bridge: Longest Parking Lot in the World
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Support half of the entire weight of the world's longest suspension bridge is borne by this tower 300m-tall Tower of the Akashi Straights Bridge, Kobe Japan -- Kobe, Hyogo, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm — 1/4000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Support
half of the entire weight of the world's longest suspension bridge is borne by this tower
300m-tall Tower of the Akashi Straights Bridge, Kobe Japan

Japan's Golden Week holidays end tomorrow, so tonight roads and highways across the nation are jammed with people returning from vacations. News reports of 50-mile backups on major expressways are not uncommon. Unfun.

We avoided all the traffic by having our mini vacation on Awaji Island early, so the roads were empty both going and returning.

On the way there, we crossed the Akashi Straights Bridge (明石海峡大橋) — the world's longest suspension bridge, though tonight it's the world's longest parking lot — and while crossing it, I stuck the camera out the window for some flying(driving)-blind shots.

Approach ( last shot through the windshield before sticking the camera outside ) -- Akashi Straights Bridge -- Kobe, Hyogo, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm — 1/1600 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Approach
( last shot through the windshield before sticking the camera outside )
Two Towers 1¼ miles apart (That's the “central span”; the whole bridge is 2½ miles long) -- Akashi Straights Bridge -- Kobe, Hyogo, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm — 1/4000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Two Towers
1¼ miles apart
(That's the “central span”; the whole bridge is 2½ miles long)

I wrote about this bridge on my “Heavy Lifting: Supporting the Longest Suspension Bridge in the World” post, which gives details about the two massive cables that support the bridge.

Weakest Link better be damn strong -- Akashi Straights Bridge -- Kobe, Hyogo, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/1250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Weakest Link
better be damn strong

This is a suspension bridge, so the entire road deck — the thick layer of concrete and asphalt and girders, and all the traffic — are suspended in mid air by the many vertical cables hanging from the two big cables. If the two big cables were to break, or come loose from their moorings on either side, the whole bridge would collapse.

The two cables are draped across the two towers, so the entire weight of the bridge and its traffic are concentrated onto those two very tall (300m above the water) points.

But, of course, those driving across don't think of any of that amazing engineering. They're probably thinking of what they're going to do on the other side... perhaps a Ferris wheel ride, or a visit to a flowery park. I thought of those things too, but mostly, I marveled.


Comments so far....

We were there last month but took the ferry from Akashi across to Awaji and back so we could stop off in Akashi and have takoyaki. It is an impressive bridge. Going underneath it on the ferry gave a different view of the bridge (http://www.daviddibben.com/2010/04/akashi-kaikyo-bridge.html)

— comment by David Dibben on May 7th, 2010 at 10:52pm JST (4 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Your photos and description reminds me about old PC games: Bridge Builder / Pontifex. BTW: Why did you describe it as “parking lot” ? Can you park car in the middle of the bridge?
Because traffic was so bad it was almost at a standstill when I made the post (but not when I was on it myself). —Jeffrey

— comment by Rafal on June 16th, 2010 at 6:16am JST (4 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

I’m a black South African and a teacher by profession. I once watched the construction of this state of the art bridge on a National Geographic Channel and was speechless. To me this is one of the man-made’s “wonders of the world”. I wish I’ll visit this Japan marvel before 2015.

— comment by Edgar Khanyile on March 3rd, 2012 at 7:11pm JST (2 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink
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