I marveled at the sheer size of Lake Pontchartrain as I traveled between my brief stops in New Orleans, Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, crossing several miles of open water as it rolled beneath Interstate 10 in a stiff breeze. The Twin Span Bridge still showed signs of extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina. Dark, rubbery, temporary sections filled long gaps in the concrete that washed away during the storm more than two years ago. Cranes on barges lifted construction material into place a few hundred yards to the east for a higher, wider replacement bridge that was well underway.
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While the Twin Span Bridge is impressive, there is a much more remarkable structure crossing the lake. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway cuts straight across open water for 24 miles (38 kilometers). It is the longest bridge on earth, and stretches from the New Orleans suburb of Metairie to the north shore town of Mandeville.
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This satellite photo shows both the Twin Span Bridge (right) and the Causeway Bridge (center). The Twin Span Bridge, which is actually rather impressive in length, looks positively puny in comparison. Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to, I didn’t get a chance to drive across the Causeway Bridge on this particular trip. When I noted that during our journey I got an odd look in return from the family since they’ve grown accustomed to being dragged to what they consider unremarkable spots. It’s true, I’ve driven much further for sights even more obscure.
If only I’d had just one more day.