A former railway bridge over the Váci út in Újpest, Budapest, Hungary – with its rail line defunct in the early 1990s, the cityside approach of the bridge was demolished to create space for construction.
A bridge to nowhere is a bridge where one or both ends are broken, incomplete, or unconnected to any roads. If it is an overpass or an interchange, the term overpass to nowhere or interchange to nowhere may be used respectively. There are five main origins for these bridges:
The bridge is completed, but the streets connecting the bridge are not completed.
The bridge or any other part of the construction can be regarded as a pork barrel project aimed at useless fund spending or money laundering with minor or negligible public usefulness.
Further, the term "bridge to nowhere" may be used by political opponents to describe a bridge (or proposed bridge) that serves low-population areas at high cost, a symbol of pork barrel spending.
It may also be used to describe a useless construction in overall.
It can simply mean as well "dead end" or "useless" in that way without referring to a construction.
Incomplete and damaged bridges
The two-lane elevated concrete vehicle bridge across the Cosquin River in Cosquin, province of Cordoba, Argentina, that was intended to connect Calle Pedro Ortiz, on the west, to Avenida Capitan Aviador Omar Castillo, on the east, was never opened. The span of the bridge itself is complete, but it was never connected to the road system on either end, so the ends of the span are blocked by steep piles of rubble. In lieu of the elevated vehicle bridge, the small, low Onofre Marimon Bridge connects the two streets for small volumes of pedestrian traffic. The bridges may be seen on Google Earth at Onofre Marimon Bridge.
Port Nelson Bridge, an isolated rail bridge near Port Nelson, Manitoba. The connecting rail line was never finished due to labour and material shortages, a lack of financial or political support, and high cost. The envisioned port was also poorly designed and was found to require excessive dredging due to significant sand bars. The project was greatly criticized by several politicians, the media (calling it a "gigantic blunder").
There are several bridges to nowhere, started to be built as a part of extraterritorial highway Vienna-Wrocław (so-called "Hitler's highway"), which remain unfinished and unconnected to the road network.
The colloquial name for a bridge to nowhere in Germany is "Soda-Brücke" (a pun on "so da" = "just there"). Many of the bridges were built in the 1970s as part of the Autobahn network, but the oil crisis and rising environmental consciousness slowed many highway extensions.
In New Kowloon, a flyover used to connect Prince Edward Road East outside Regal Meridien Hotel to the old Kai Tak Airport (coded K72). The airport has since moved and been demolished, leaving the flyover unused, until a new offramp was built in 2020 to connect the K72 flyover to Olympic Avenue [zh-tw] (Road D1) and opened to traffic in September 2021.
In Victoria City on Hong Kong Island, the western end of Connaught Road West Flyover (part of Route 4) was intended to be connected to the shelved Green Island Link and a trunk road along the southwestern coast of the island (previously numbered Route 7).
Eintveit Bridge, a 25-metre-long two-lane road bridge in Etne municipality in Hordaland county, was completed in 1962 and was intended to be part of a road on the northwestern side of Åkrafjorden. But the road was never built, and the bridge has remained unused except occasionally by hikers. In 2014 broadcaster NRK organized the "opening" of the bridge. Two cars were flown in by helicopter and then drove across the bridge.
The Loboc Bridge in the town of Loboc, Bohol. A steel and concrete bridge which commenced construction in the 1970s but was left unfinished allegedly due to opposition from the Loboc parishioners since the bridge might destroy the 400-year old Loboc Church.
Several structures on unfinished Olimpijka motorway. Its construction started in 1976 with the propaganda goal of completing it in time for the Moscow Olympics in 1980 (hence its unofficial name, as part of Berlin-Moscow connection). Because of the economic crisis which hit the country in the late 1970s and continued throughout the 1980s, only a small section was opened. Construction of another stretch resumed only in 2001, as a part of A2 motorway. Since 2010 the plan was to finish the whole link between the border with Germany and Warsaw, this time for the UEFA Euro 2012 football championships. This meant that weathered remains of 1970s structures had to be demolished in the 2010s.
A two-lane vehicle bridge in Pavlovsky Posad, completed in 2011, continues the minor Vachevskaya Street in the west across the Vokhna River. In the east, there is a dead end, as no vehicle road has been built there, with only a footpath branching off to another street. The bridge may become integrated into traffic once a new road tunnel under railway is completed nearby, and together they would replace a problematic level crossing. The bridge was open for vehicle traffic in July 2015.
Viaduct in Kopráš, a never-used railway viaduct in the village of Kopráš near the town of Jelšava in south Slovakia. The viaduct is 120 m long and 40 m high. It was finished in 1945 but was never used, because the railway to the viaduct was never completed due to the events of World War II. Next to the viaduct are two finished tunnels without any connection to railways. The tunnel near the village of Slavošovce is 2800 m long, and the tunnel near Kopráš is 350 m long. These tunnels to nowhere were also never used, because railway construction ended in 1948 before its completion.
The former Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway bridge at Blandford Forum. Following closure of the line, the span over the river (right) was demolished, and the earth embankment on the left was reused for nearby flood defence work, leaving it as a "bridge to nowhere".
Bewley Street Footbridge, in Colliers Wood, London, constructed in 2007, was blocked off at one end due to a dispute over the cost of building an access ramp. The ramp was finally completed in June 2015 and renamed "Gam Gurung Bridge" after a local councillor.
Barracks Road and Calvalry Street bridges north of the A671 Westway in Burnley, Lancashire, cross the East Lancashire railway line and were stopped up at both ends following the construction of the M65 in 1981.
M8 Bridge to Nowhere, two separate bridges over the M8 motorway in Glasgow: one eventually had an office block constructed on it; the other, originally built in the 1970s, remained unfinished until July 2013.
Arboretum "ghost ramps" (built 1960s), a set of ramps and bridges south of Marsh Island near Portage Bay in Seattle that were intended to be an interchange from Washington State Route 520 and the proposed R. H. Thomson Expressway. When plans for the expressway were scrapped following a citizens' freeway revolt, the interchange ramps and bridges remained in place and are mostly unused. On January 31, 2013, Washington state announced that the ghost ramps would be removed sometime between 2014 and 2016. They were finally demolished in 2017, despite calls to preserve them in memory of the protests that cancelled the expressway project.
Big Four Bridge (built 1895), a 2,530-foot (770 m) single-track railroad bridge over the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky, which was abandoned in 1968 and had both its approach spans removed and sold for scrap the following year. In February 2013, the bridge was reopened on one end for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. In May 2014, the Jeffersonville, Indiana, ramp opened, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to travel between downtown Jeffersonville and Waterfront Park in Louisville.
Miles Glacier Bridge (built 1910), also known as the "Million Dollar Bridge", was converted from railroad use to motor vehicle use; It is at the northern end of the unfinished Copper River Highway near Cordova, Alaska. Construction stopped in 1964 when an earthquake damaged the 1,549-foot (472 m) bridge. Although since repaired and reopened, the bridge is nonetheless currently of limited utility due to damage at other points along the route.
Hoan Bridge (built 1973), a 2-mile (3 km) road bridge over the Milwaukee River in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which was unused until access roads were completed in 1977, was lacking freeway connections at the southern end until 1998, and was "going nowhere again" for two months while closed for major repairs after a span partially collapsed in December 2000.
Luten Bridge (built 1925), also known as "Mebane Bridge" or "Mebane's Bridge", is a road bridge over the Dan River in Rockingham County on the outskirts of the town of Eden, North Carolina, which was at the center of the landmark Luten Bridge Co. vs. Rockingham County lawsuit that made jurisprudence in 1929 when the contractor continued work on it well after the contract to build it was rescinded and subsequently sued to be reimbursed for this work.
Pier 19 (demolished 2012) of a proposed second span of the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan. No second span had ever been approved for this privately owned bridge, largely because the proposal would dump excessive traffic onto Windsor city surface streets, but its owners built ramps for the proposed span in an attempt to counter an internationally supported proposal for a Detroit River International Crossing to the Windsor-Essex Parkway further downriver. The unauthorized ramp was removed in 2012 by court order.
John Pirie Bridge in Port Pirie was built in the 1970s to encourage development of industry on the other side of Port Pirie Creek. No development ensued; the bridge leads only to a few gravel roads otherwise unconnected.
In Jasper National Park, at the outlet of Maligne Lake, there is a bridge that crosses the outlet river and proceeds about 300 meters to a parking lot and several hiking trails and a boat launch. The bridge cost millions of dollars to build and was part of a proposed route through the mountains that was never completed.
The Harry Blaney Bridge in County Donegal spans 340 m (370 yd) and spans Mulroy Bay, connecting the Fanad and Rosguill peninsulas. Opened in 2009 at a cost of €20 million, it was criticised as a bridge to nowhere due to the low population of the area (less than 3,000 on the two peninsulas). Supporters cited the tourism potential of linking the two areas. In 2014, local paper The Donegal Daily admitted that the bridge was "still rarely used."
The Bunting Island Bridge in Yan district, Kedah. The 2.3 kilometers bridge that connect from mainland to an uninhabited Bunting Island. Build around 2002-2005, the bridge cost MYR120 million.
The St. Elmo Bridge in Valletta, Malta has been called a bridge to nowhere since it only leads to a breakwater and a small lighthouse
The St Elmo Bridge leads from the foreshore of Valletta to the breakwater at the entrance of the Grand Harbour. Critics disapproved of the construction cost of €2.8 million and have called it a "bridge to nowhere".
The Russky Bridge in Vladivostok was criticised as a "bridge to nowhere", costing about one billion US dollars and serving an island where only 5,000 people live.
A four-lane vehicle overpass across the Moscow Ring Road at kilometer 83 (sometimes called the Molokovsky Overpass) continues Molokova Street in the Lianozovo District of Moscow outside the city. Molokova Street is in a gated community with only local traffic allowed; at the other end, the bridge serves only the Lianozovo Cemetery with a small parking lot next to it, coming to a dead end before a forest. As a result, the overpass only receives significant traffic on prayer for the dead days such as Saturday of Souls.
In 2014, Alaska's longest bridge, the Tanana River Bridge, was completed across the Tanana River at a cost of $187 million. The 3,300 feet (1,000 m) long bridge consists of a 12-foot (3.7 m) wide gravel path that connects a gravel spur road off the Richardson Highway near Salcha, Alaska, to the roadless Tanana Flats. The bridge will be almost exclusively for military use with limited access for hunting license holders. Due to the current lack of infrastructure in the Tanana Flats and the ongoing uncertainty in Department of Defense spending, there may be limited use of the bridge.
A bridge that once carried West Mound Street over I-70/I-71 in Columbus, Ohio was abandoned in the 1990s due to redevelopment projects that left West Mound Street with two discontinuous sections. The bridge subsequently became a homeless camp before being cleared by the city of Columbus for safety reasons. The bridge is slated to be demolished in 2022 by ODOT without a replacement as part of a widening project of the I-70/I-71 corridor in Downtown Columbus.
Ontario Highway 548 in Canada has a short stub of roadway (with double-yellow line still visible) next to a more recent bridge approach. The former ferry approach is now used as a parking lot for people to go fishing from an island connecting the longer bridge to a shorter bridge to St. Joseph Island.
In the United Arab Emirates, a suspension bridge links Abu Dhabi city and Hodariyat island. The bridge was opened in 2012, but vehicles are not allowed to use it. It appeared to be a waste of money. Recently the bridge has opened; the approach road has been extended on the island, and a parking lot has been paved. There are also some small cafes there.
CN's Lachine Canal Swing Bridge in Montreal, Canada, an abandoned railway bridge that has been left in the 'open' position in the middle of the Lachine Canal between its successor rail bridge and the Wellington Bridge.