Crossing a bridge in any vehicle can be a terrifying experience or even a panic attack for some. If you are one of those people, it may seem reasonable, but you should avoid the longest bridge in the USA. It could cause your nerves to shatter!
Some brave drivers may consider hauling their RV over long bridges. But can you drive an RV across the longest bridge in the U.S.?
Today, we’ll help you decide if this could be your next RV adventure. Buckle up, and let’s go!
The longest bridge in the USA is the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. It spans 23.83 miles across Lake Pontchartrain in southern Louisiana.
It is a major transportation link between Mandeville and Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans. It is not only the longest bridge in the United States, but also the longest bridge in the world over a body of water.
The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is traveled by nearly 12 million vehicles annually. The bridge has become a popular tourist attraction, and many people consider it one of the engineering marvels of the United States.
Across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
We owe all 23.83 miles of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway to Philip N. DeLamore. Construction on the southbound roadway began in 1955 and was completed after 14 months in 1956. In contrast, construction of the northbound lane did not begin until 1967, and it opened in 1969.
For motorists, the wait was worth it, as they could now travel across the lake more quickly and efficiently. Motorists were able to shorten their travel time to and from New Orleans by about 50 minutes.
The bridge, with its 9,000 concrete piers and 9,500 concrete columns, can withstand hurricanes and other storms. It has a high-tech monitoring system that allows engineers to constantly monitor the bridge for potential problems.
There are six safety zones across the bridge’s 23 miles. Motorists who encounter an emergency should use these safety areas. Officials say these areas have helped reduce rear-end collisions by about 30%.
How much does it cost to cross the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway?
Unfortunately, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is a toll road. However, tolls are only charged on the Mandeville side of the lake for southbound vehicles. The toll is calculated by the number of axles on the vehicle.
All two-axle vehicles cost $5, but those who register with the GEAUXPASS network receive a reduced rate of $3.
Fees increase with the number of axles and the height of the vehicle. They range from $7 for vehicles with three axles to $23 for vehicles more than seven feet high and with more than seven axles.
These rates are subject to change with or without notice. For current toll rates, visit the Causeway website.
Can you drive a motorhome across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway?
Fortunately, you can drive a motorhome across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. However, there are some restrictions and guidelines that you must follow.
The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Commission states that RVs and other oversized vehicles must follow certain guidelines to ensure the safety of all drivers and passengers.
Unless you have an incredibly large motorhome that we’ve never seen before, you’ll be able to get by with the maximum limits for gross weight, height and length. You probably won’t weigh more than 88,000 pounds, be taller than 14 feet, 6 inches, or be longer than 65 feet. If that’s the case, you’ll probably run into problems long before you arrive at the bridge.
Unfortunately, the bridge can restrict traffic in high winds, especially for large vehicles. It’s a good idea to check the weather and the status of the bridge if your route takes you across it.
Famous bridges in the United States that are suitable for RVs.
The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is the longest bridge in the United States, but it’s not the only famous bridge suitable for RVs. Let’s take a look at a few others that you can drive over on your RV travels.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (Virginia)
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is a 17.6-mile bridge and tunnel that crosses the Chesapeake Bay. It connects Delmarva and Hampton Roads. The northbound lane opened in 1964, and the southbound lane opened in 1999.
If you are traveling with an RV, be aware that both tunnels have a height restriction of 13 feet, 6 inches and that you must shut off your propane before passing through. If you have never surveyed your RV, now is a good time to do so.
This is another route that can be greatly affected by weather. However, wind can cause closures, forcing you to find a much longer alternate route. Be aware of any weather or traffic closures.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is another toll road. However, tolls vary widely depending on the type of vehicle, number of axles and when you travel.
Tolls range from $14 to $29 for passenger vehicles. In addition, you can receive discounts for the return trip if it is within 24 hours and you use an E-ZPass transponder.
Golden Gate Bridge (California)
What better way to explore the Golden Gate Bridge than with an RV? It is one of the most famous bridges in the USA and stretches for 1.7 miles.
The Golden Gate Bridge is a toll bridge, but tolls are only charged for southbound traffic. Tolls range from $8.40 to $65.85, depending on how many axles you have and how you pay the toll.
The Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District requires trailers to use the shoulder lane, which is the right lane. These 11-foot lanes are slightly wider than the other 10-foot lanes.
Also, the #1 and #2 lanes are more spacious toll lanes for wider vehicles. Remember that there are height restrictions of 14 feet and 6 inches.
Mackinac Bridge (Michigan)
The Mackinac Bridge is a 5-mile suspension bridge spanning the Straits of Mackinac. It separates Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas and connects St. Ignace with Mackinaw City. Crossing the Mackinac Bridge can be an incredible experience with any vehicle, especially an RV.
As with many of our bridges, weather can be a problem with this bridge. From time to time it is closed, or traffic is restricted. The speed is regularly adjusted to the wind conditions, so pay close attention.
This bridge also has tolls, but they are not nearly as expensive as the others. Passenger cars are charged $2 per axle or $4 per car. It is much more budget friendly than many of the other bridges.
Don’t forget: Planning a road trip across the country this summer? Then you need to include these stops in your trip!
Tips for driving motorhomes over bridges
Safety is important when driving an RV over a bridge. It’s not something to take lightly, whether you get nervous or not. Here are a few tips to help you and your RV cross any bridge with ease.
Check weather conditions
Weather, especially high winds, can often be a serious problem near major bridges. A strong and unexpected wind can easily push an RV from one side of the road to the other. Some bridges restrict traffic under such conditions, but this is not always the case.
You should always check the weather when traveling by RV, especially if you need to cross a bridge in the US. Sometimes it’s best to pull over, find a safe place to park, and wait for the wind to die down.
If you’ve ever driven in high winds, you know how dangerous it can be. Some vehicles have more trouble with the wind than others, but winds over 25 miles per hour affect most drivers.
Know your altitude
Low clearance is not something to take lightly in a motorhome. Knowing your height can help you avoid a serious situation and damage to your vehicle. If not, you may need to replace your RV air conditioner.
You cannot rely on the manufacturer’s information about the height of your RV. Measure the exact height of your RV while it is hitched to your
tow vehicle. This may change the size that the manufacturer specifies for your vehicle by a few centimeters.
Measure from the ground to the highest point of your trailer. Don’t forget to include the height of the air conditioning units. These can add more than a foot to the overall height of your trailer.
Pro Tip: You are responsible for knowing the overall height of your RV. Click on the link to learn more about RV height!
Do not forget the tolls
Unfortunately, the highway agencies that operate the bridges must fund their construction and maintenance. They cover these expenses by charging motorists tolls each time they cross. The fees vary by bridge, but crossing with an RV can be expensive.
Many bridges charge based on the number of axles. The cost can increase significantly if you have a two or three axle trailer.
In the Northeast, there are some bridges that cost $10 to $15 for regular passenger vehicles. However, if you’re
towing a fifth wheel or travel trailer, you’ll have to pay $25 to $30 in tolls. Yikes!
Stay in your lane
On some bridges, oversize vehicles, including RVs, are restricted to certain lanes. This is usually the right lane, but it can vary depending on the bridge. Look for signage indicating where you must drive.
Changing lanes on a bridge is usually not a good idea. Stay in your lane until you have safely crossed the bridge. You don’t want to make a mistake or cause an accident while driving over a long bridge in the US. This is dangerous and causes significant delay for you and other drivers.
Watch your speed
Never speed in a motorhome, especially when crossing a bridge. Pay attention to the signs with the speed limits, as some routes have a reduced speed.
In addition, some bridges are equipped with electronic speed limit signs that adjust the maximum speed based on weather conditions.
If you are in too much of a hurry with your RV, it can be very dangerous. Take your time crossing the bridge and you will have the best chance of getting to the other side safely.
Should you drive an RV across the longest bridge in the U.S.?
Several million motorists drive over the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway each year, including many RV travelers. In general, it is an extremely safe bridge, and there is nothing to worry about.
Thanks to the advanced technology of many of these bridges, they are among the safest roads. Fasten your seat belt, take a deep breath, and rest assured that you will reach the other side safely.
Have you ever driven across the longest bridge in the United States? Would you ever drive across it in an RV?