Crossing the terrifying Vitim River Bridge in Siberia
Tucked away in Siberia, Russia, Vitim River Bridge isone of the most spectacular bridges in the world. It’s an old train bridge crossing the Vitim River which leaves drivers precariously navigating a tiny six-foot-wide path. Its old metal structure is covered with rotting wooden planks, which can be slippery due to frequent ice in the area.
What’s Vitim River Bridge?
The Vitim river is a major tributary of the Lena River. This terrifying bridge is a mere six feet wide and teeters precariously over the river. It’s a really old structure without railings, truly narrow even for a standard car. To cross the bridge, also known as Kuandinsky Bridge, in the Trans-Baikal Region drivers must navigate a tiny six-foot-wide path - with no railing or safety features to save them from toppling into the frozen water below. To make matters worse, the old metal structure is covered with wooden planks, which can be slippery due to the frequent snow and ice. It was built for use by trains, which explains the lack of any safety barriers. The decaying structure allegedly has not seen repairs in the four decades since it was built, making for a nail-biting drive for those brave enough to traverse it. Anyone trying to cross the bridge is forced to make repairs themselves.
How long is Vitim River Bridge?
The bridge carries the challenging BAM road, one of the toughest adventure roads left on this planet. During the Siberian winter, the bridge becomes even more challenging as the wood turns into an ice slick that provides no traction. Surviving this bridge crossing is considered such an accomplishment that the 34 people who have done it created their own Facebook page. The old railway bridge is 570 meters (1870 feet) long and only 50 feet above the water. It’s barely wide enough for one car, and it’s iced over for much of the year.
When was Vitim River Bridge built?
The bridge was built in the 1980’s and runs parallel to a train bridge. Drive over the bridge at your own risk. The bridge is not wide enough for a car and has no railings. It’s made of wood and not in a very good condition. It will take a good 3 minutes to drive across it if you’re a skilled driver. This might be the most unstable water crossing bridge ever. It is narrow, unsafe and the fast-moving waters of the Vitim river don’t make it easy either. The width is almost equal to the wheelbase of the car. There are no railings or fences. Railway slippers are simply placed over the metal base and they are not connected with each other. Strong wind blows over the river. In order not to rock the car, one has to open the car windows to reduce windage. There is a long cable down the middle and many big planks missing, leaving huge gaping holes in the bridge.
Why was Vitim River Bridge built?
The bridge allows the small village of Kuanda to be in touch with the rest of civilization, but the slick wood surface and lack of repairs mean that sometimes cars just break through the structure and fall to oblivion below, leaving the next person in line the task of getting some planks and fixing the hole themselves. The Trans-Baikal Region Bridge was originally built to be part of the Baikal–Amur Mainline railway. However, this never came to fruition, leaving the 1,500 inhabitants of the Kuanda village free to use the bridge. If they dare.