[Image Source: NewsVl]
Bridges have traditionally been built out of necessity in order to keeping people moving from place to place over often large spans of water. However, with modern construction and international pride, having the world’s best structures in their respective category, is often strived for when projects are designed. The Russky Bridge which crosses the Bosphorus strait is the world’s longest cable stayed bridge, however it doesn’t really see much use.
A view of the foundation piles being poured [Image Source: Wikimedia]
The magnificent structure completed in 2012 spans from the Russian city of Vladivostok to Russky Island, capable of handling 50,000 cars daily. There’s only one problem, Russky Island only has a population of 5,000 people, leaving the roadway largely underused and ultimately, quite useless.
Large piles were driven as deep as 77 meters into the surrounding built up earth to form the foundation for the two supporting structures on each side of the cable-stayed roadway. The central span, much like other large bridges, was built with an aerodynamic cross section capable of handling large crosswind forces. If you are interested in learning more about the mega construction project then check out the short documentary below.
The Russian President at the time claimed that holding the Asia-Pacific Economic Collaboration Summit in the connecting city of Vladivostok would bring great acclaim to the area. In what is now a largely critiqued decision, Russia spent upwards of US$20 billion preparing the city for the summit and around US$1.1 billion on the Russky Bridge alone. The imminence of the summit surrounding the construction of the bridge created the necessity of a showpiece, resulting in a very over-designed structure. Needless to say, the bridge is certainly stunning but at what ecological and financial cost for something that was completely unnecessary.
[Image Source: Wikimedia]
The race to have the best and biggest structures has resulted in some magnificent architecture and engineering over the years, but the important questions remain, were they necessary? In the case of the Russky Bridge, the answer is a very obvious resounding no.
For now, Russky Island sits as forgotten tourist attraction that doesn’t even have fresh water in certain places. If you do happen to live there however, you have a very nice traffic-free bridge to take on your drive to the mainland.