Having worked with structural engineers for close to a year, their work has evidently left an impact on this executive recruiter. When I speak to candidates about their projects I hear nothing but enthusiasm and passion radiating from their voice as they explain how much time, effort, blood, sweat & tears their job requires. I hear people speak about projects as if they were family members or friends, and for a long time, this confused me.
After speaking to well over 500 individuals in this time, I now understand. So much work goes into these projects, with every individual involved dedicating their working life to ensuring its completion – its survival – that it seems only natural that this attachment form. I recently had a conversation with a Director in a large international consultancy firm who discussed his largest projects to date with myself, and when asked about the notice period required in his current position, he surprised me:
“I only need to give 2 weeks, but I will be giving at least 4 months”.
I asked his reasoning. Throughout his career, he had been working on plans for a large bridge in his home state – he had been working on these plans since the 1980’s. In 2015 these plans were approved and the project began. Seeing this project through to the end was more important than any promotion or opportunity for career progression, and I fully understood.
In this job, I have developed a deep appreciation of the work that goes into the design, construction, and inspection of these projects throughout the duration of projects like this. It is because of this that I have come to appreciate this industry from a very different perspective, and come to have favorites of my own.
Below are my personal top 10.
10. Tower Bridge – London, United Kingdom
Maybe an underwhelming revelation for some of my UK based connections, but Tower Bridge has a special place in the hearts of many – including mine. Residing over the River Thames, the bridge is home to amazing views of England’s capital city. This year it is celebrating its 125th anniversary and will, therefore, be the host of many amazing events telling the story of the people who built, maintain, and operate one of the UK’s most iconic structures.
9. Sunniberg Bridge – Klosters, Switzerland
This road bridge near Klosters in Switzerland is notable because of its innovative design. Winning an award in 2001 as an ‘Outstanding Structure’, it’s been around as long as I have (since 1998). That being said, it wasn’t open to road traffic until the end of 2005 when work on a nearby tunnel was completed.
8. Confederation Bridge – Prince Edward Island, Canada
The world’s longest bridge over ice-covered water had to be in this list somewhere, and here it is. At number 8 is Confederation Bridge in Canada, aka ‘The Fixed Link’. At over 8 miles long (or 12.9km), the structure has prompted an increase in tourists from 740,000 to over 1,200,000 as of 1997, and I’m sure that number is much higher in 2019!
7. The Helix Bridge – Marina Bay, Singapore
Built with the intention of providing shade for pedestrians, the structure has four viewing platforms at strategic locations to create easy access to stunning views of the Singapore skyline. Taking inspiration from its name, the bridge has pairs of letters C & G, and A & T along its structure. These light up in the dark and represent the four bases of DNA, cytosine, guanine, adenine, and thymine.
6. Seven Mile Bridge – Monroe, Florida, United States
Daunting at best and outright terrifying at worst, the Seven Mile Bridge in Florida US rests only 65ft above the water. Costing $45 million when it was built in 1982, the 6.79-mile-long bridge is closed every April for 2.5 hours for the ‘Seven Mile Bridge Run’ that commemorates the Florida Keys bridge rebuilding project.
5. The Moses Bridge – Halsteren, Netherlands
Originally an active defense-line in the 17th century, this bridge is actually a converted moat once used as a walkway to dissuade marauders on foot. It is now known as the ‘invisible bridge’ and was seen by locals as a ‘miracle’ solution. Made out of waterproof wood, it completely disappears into the beautiful surrounding landscape at the right angle. Worried about flooding? Fear not. The surrounding water level is carefully controlled by pumps to ensure your feet stay dry while crossing.
4. Dragon Bridge – Da Nang, Vietnam
This one is definitely an eye-catcher. Famous mostly for its stunning design and architecture, this bridge is also impressive in that it hosts six lanes of traffic and provides the shortest road link from Da Nang International Airport to the city. Each Saturday and Sunday night at 9pm, the dragon breathes fire and draws in locals and tourists alike.
3. Sky Bridge – Langkawi, Malaysia
125 meters long and 2,170ft above sea level, this bridge very literally towers over the tree-tops. To reach it, a trip on the ‘SkyGlide’ is required, which takes 2 minutes via cable car. Alternatively, if you fancy yourself as a hiker (I personally don’t), you can brave the 10-20 minute walk down a steep mountain track.
2. Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco, California, United States
It had to be, right? Just missing out on the top spot is San Franciscos’ Golden Gate Bridge. A household name across the globe, this bridge has been a constant movie go-to. Featuring in movies such as Star Trek: Into Darkness, Pacific Rim, and Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, it’s hard to avoid the golden wonder.
1. Golden Bridge – Dalat, Vietnam
In my personal number one spot is the Golden Bridge in Vietnam. Its elegant design complements the stunning views of the Ba Na hills in a way in which no other design could have. The sculpted hand structures provide a true wow moment, and tourists have flocked to the area to see the magnificent structure in person.