Russian kids have fun climbing the Bridge to Russky Island, world-record holder for Highest Pylons Ever.

Hey Tommy, you want to come over and play Xbox today? Nah, I'm busy, gotta climb this crazy-high bridge and dangle off the railing like a deranged squirrel. Next time!

These Russian kids forged a memory of a lifetime recently by taking to the heights of the Bridge to Russky Island, a yet-to-be-opened cable span stretching from the city of Vladivostok to (dur) Russky Island. Actually, they climbed a crane next to the huge structure, so they were higher than the bridge's montane pylons, which at about 1,050 feet are the tallest of their kind in existence. The central span is also a record-setter at 3,622 feet, the longest span ever for a cable-stayed bridge and a complete win over the second-place contestant, China's Sutong Yangtze River Bridge.

While you and I might cling to the cold iron skeleton of the crane like a maternally deprived rhesus monkey, these kids ham it up at their ear-freezing altitude, digressing from a central walkway to hang one-handed over the railing. (At several points you'll want to yell: Stop giving high-fives, idiots!) The possibility of them plunging into the Eastern Bosphorus, where they'd be smashed to bosons on the water's surface, makes this amateur footage a bit of a cliff hanger; there is no ending showing their safe return, but they probably made it down OK.

While it's no Siduhe River Bridge, the highest span on the face of earth, the Russky is a mighty and imposing bridge. The Russians plan to open it in time for the 2012 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, which is taking place partly on the island. After the diplomats leave, ordinary Russkies will be able to use the bridge to transit back and forth to the mainland section of Vladivostok, an urban center of about 592,000 residents near the border of China.

Aleksey Baranov, who is helping lead the construction work, describes his pride in the technologies that went into raising this titan:

They include the drilling of ultradeep boreholes from the water in the eastern Bosphorus Strait, the use of high-grade concrete for pylon erection, and installation of the main stiffening girder paired panels from the water. Implementation of this unique project demanded enormous efforts, emotional contribution and expertise of all of us. I dare say, on behalf of all bridge builders, that we are happy because not so often, once in the lifetime really, one could be honored to be able to participate in the building of such bridge.

See how much of this "unique" bridge you can take before losing your stomach. I made it to 1:12 in the above video. For more on how this bridge was built, try beginning with a lovely and extensive photo essay on this non-English page.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Design

    The Problem With 'Fast-Casual Architecture'

    Washington, D.C., has a huge new waterfront development that’s fun, popular, and easy on the eyes. Is anything wrong with that?

  2. Design

    Experimental City: The Sci-Fi Utopia That Never Was

    With solar energy, recycling, computers, and personal mass transit, the 1960s-era Minnesota Experimental City was a prescient and hopeful vision of the urban future. A new documentary tells its story.

  3. Transportation

    How a Satirical Call for Bikelash Became a Real, Invective-Laden Protest

    People carried signs reading “Nazi Lanes” at the Minneapolis anti-bike lane demonstration, which several political candidates attended.

  4. Transportation

    How Seattle Bucked a National Trend and Got More People to Ride the Bus

    Three experts in three very different positions weigh in on their city’s ridership success.

  5. A man walks his bicycle beside a train in Paris.
    Maps

    Breaking Down the Many Ways Europe's City-Dwellers Get to Work

    One chart shows which cities do best when it comes to biking, walking, or taking public transit to work.