The uses of our favorite metal, steel, are diverse, to put it mildly. You’ll find steel in everything from pieces of art to skyscrapers, tanks to video game consoles. Most things made out of steel do their best to hide the fact that they are, though. For instance, glass-covered skyscrapers don’t often give away the presence of their steel superstructures underneath, with the exception of buildings built specifically to show off steel, like One Liberty Plaza in New York, and the US Steel Tower in Pittsburgh. One of the best places to see steel in action remains the beautiful, exposed metalwork of bridges. Architectural Digest put together a top ten of their favorite steel bridges, and we wanted to share it, because these structures really are amazing examples of what our civilization has accomplished with steel.
New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, West Virginia
Completed in October 1977 and extending 3,030 feet across the New River Gorge, the imposing steel structure was at one point the longest single-span arch bridge in the world. It has become a symbol of West Virginia, so much so that each year, on the third Saturday in October, Fayette County celebrates Bridge Day by closing the span to vehicular traffic. In addition to offering rappelling and BASE-jumping demonstrations, the festival marks the only day pedestrians are allowed to walk across the bridge.
Sundial Bridge in Redding, California
Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava designed this innovative 700-foot-long pedestrian link—his first bridge in the U.S. Opened in July 2004, the cantilevered, cable-stayed 1,600-ton structure, whose shape mimics that of a large sundial, gracefully arcs across the Sacramento River in Redding’s Turtle Bay Exploration Park. Calatrava’s first vehicular bridge in the U.S., the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas, is slated to open later this year.
Sachs Bridge in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Considered one of the covered-bridge capitals of the world, Pennsylvania was once home to nearly 1,500 covered bridges. But only a fraction remain intact today, including the 160-year-old Sachs Bridge, which was used by both the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War (most notably during the Battle of Gettysburg). It was designated the state’s most historic bridge in 1938 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
BP Bridge in Chicago
Pritzker Prize–winning architect Frank Gehry’s first and only bridge opened in downtown Chicago’s Millennium Park in July 2004. Named for the energy company BP, a major donor to the project, the stainless-steel footbridge—bearing Gehry’s signature biomorphic curves—winds its way across Columbus Drive from Millennium Park to Daley Bicentennial Plaza.
Bixby Creek Bridge in Big Sur, California
As part of the legendary Highway 1 that stretches along the Pacific coast, the Bixby Creek Bridge is emblematic of one of the country’s most scenic drives. When the bridge was completed in 1932, it was the highest single-arch span in the world (measuring 280 feet high and 714 feet long) and provided a welcome alternative to the long detour previously necessary to cross Bixby Canyon.
Check out the rest of the list on the original article, HERE.