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5 of the Scariest Bridges in America

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If you have a fear of heights or a fear of water, bridges are likely to cause you a lot of stress. But you’re not alone; many drivers experience this fear. Still, there are dozens of large, tall bridges in the United States that cause Americans angst. So much so, that many of these bridges offer services to have someone else drive you to the other side.

We decided to take a look at some of the largest and scariest bridges in the United States. Here are some of our picks.

1. Chesapeake Bay Bridge

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is located in Maryland. The bridge is nearly 200 feet high and stretches 4.3 miles over the Chesapeake Bay.

Due to the bridge’s significant height above open water and length of the bridge, many drivers have reported having panic attacks while driving across the bridge, including their vision tunneling and fearing a complete loss of control of their vehicles.

Fear of the bridge has become so commonplace, a small company called Bay Bridge Drive-Overs has been created surrounding the bridge. The service will drive you over the bridge in your own car for a $25 fee. Alex Robinson, the owner of the company, reports an incredible amount of business. He drives dozens of customers over the bridge every day, making an effort to keep conversation away from the bridge to ease the nerves of his customers.

“It’s functionally obsolete,” said one customer. “There’s no emergency pull-off.” Bridge go-ers have even reported seeking psychological therapy to overcome their fear of the bridge.

2. Mackinac Bridge

Located in Michigan, the Mackinac Bridge, nicknamed “Mighty Mac,” opened on Nov. 1, 1957. At nearly five miles long, it is the fifth longest suspension bridge in the world and the longest suspension bridge in the Western hemisphere.

The Mackinac Bridge is suspended 200 feet above the ground connecting Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas. Since it’s a suspension bridge, it has the ability to move with the wind. The bridge can shift more than 35 feet side to side. While the Mackinac Bridge’s website argues the bridge does not “sway,” it is likely you will feel the movement if you’re driving on the bridge during a large wind gust.

Michigan is known for its high levels of snow and the Great Lakes bring with them a significant amount of wind (giving Chicago its Windy City nickname). This can cause concerning weather for the bridge, including ice, snow, and wind.

Authorities on behalf of the Mackinac Bridge offer a free Driver Assistance Program, transporting nervous drivers across the bridge upon request.

3. Captain William Moore Bridge

Captain William Moore Creek Bridge
Photo: Jay Galvin

The Captain William Moore Bridge is fairly small, but its story will send fear up your spine.

Located in Alaska, the bridge opened in 1976 and is only 110 feet long. However, the short bridge is built on top of an active earthquake fault line. This means the ground underneath shifts. But when creating the bridge, engineers knew that if they installed it like a traditional bridge, it would be torn apart the moment the earthquake fault line shifted. So, the engineers decided to only secure the bridge on one side.

That’s right – the bridge is only attached on one side of the terrifying drop.

This one-sided attachment allows the bridge to maintain in place when the earthquake fault line shifts. But its lack of secure structure makes most drivers uneasy.

4. The Golden Gate Bridge

One of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, determined by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is one of the most well-known bridges in the United States. Opened in 1937, the suspension bridge spans approximately 1.7 miles and is suspended about 220 feet above the water.

Not only is the Golden Gate Bridge famous for its size, but many fear the bridge based on the number of suicides committed from its height. The number has exceeded 1,500 deaths, with many more attempted. In fact, in April of this year, management began a four-year project to install suicide barriers along the edges of the bridge in an effort to decrease this statistic.

11 workers were killed during the construction of the bridge, adding even more to its historic fear factor.

The bridge was built to withstand winds up to 100 mph, so its structure is fairly sound. However, it’s still possible to feel a slight sway in the bridge when winds pick up along the water.

5. Royal Gorge Bridge

Royal Gorge Bridge
Photo: Bkthomson

The Royal Gorge Bridge recently gave up its title as the highest suspension bridge in the world. It hangs 956 feet above the Arkansas River. (Funny enough, the bridge is actually in Colorado.)

Construction on the bridge itself began in 1929. The bridge is exceptionally high and undeniably terrifying, but people are embracing its fear factor and channeling that fear into thrills. Since its opening, companies have capitalized on the bridge, adding a zip line, a “skycoaster” roller coaster ride, and gondolas.

Sources: Inside Edition, Mackinac Bridge, Dangerous Roads, CBS News, Royal Gorge