Amazing offshore urban expressways – pluses & minuses

A trend in arterial roadway building, especially in highly urbanized areas and locations of rough terrain, has been to construct expressways offshore, which largely parallel the coastline. There are several reasons for choosing these locations for highway construction, which include:

  • Little to no cost for right-of-way acquisition as the offshore site is not owned.
  • Less disruption of existing developed areas.
  • Less displacement of families and businesses.
  • Avoidance of existing congested areas during construction and after completion.
  • Avoidance of sensitive or rugged coastlines.
  • Avoidance of rock slides, landslides, and similar dangers.
Stunning aerial view of the Bandra-Worlin Sea-Link in Mumbai – Source:

Despite the positive attributes identified above, there are also potential pitfalls that can give pause on whether to construct these offshore expressways. They include:

  • Maintenance costs for offshore highway repair and rehabilitation.
  • Poor visual and/or noise aesthetics of the expressway from both the coast and the water.
  • Risk of direct water pollution resulting from accidents occurring on the highway.
  • Dangers associated with hurricane, earthquakes, and tsunamis.
  • Lack of alternative routes if blocked by accidents or construction due to limited access points.
  • Impacts on aquatic wildlife.

Included in this post are images of some of these amazing, yet controversial, offshore highways from around the globe. Such expressways tend to be supported by two types of construction; one that is elevated on piers and/or bridges, and the other which is largely built on reclaimed land or on small artificial islands, such as was done for the majority of the segment of the E1 expressway shown below in Manila.

E1/R-1 Expressway near Manila – Source:

Please note that the examples included in this post is not meant to be a comprehensive or complete tall. Nor does this post include expressways that extend out into the sea to connect land masses, such as I-395 and I-195 in the Miami area, or expressways that cross large estuaries/bays like the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel or the Hong Kong-Macau BridgeTunnel. Instead, it identifies some of the expressways that parallel the coast rather than running along side the coast on the land. As always, please feel free to forward me any additions, corrections, or suggestions. Peace!


Busan, South Korea – Gwangan Bridge Highway (2003) = 7.4 km over water (see photos below)

Gwangan Bridge Highway – Source:


Lagos, Nigeria – E1 /Third Mainland Bridge (1990) = 11.8 km over water – eight (8) lanes (see photos below)

E1/Third Mainland Bridge – Source:
E1/Third Mainland Bridge – Source:


Manila, Philippines – E3/Radial Road 1 Kawit Extension (2011) = 7.0 km on reclaimed land offshore – 4-5 lanes (see photo below)

E3/R-1 – Source:


Mumbai, India – Bandra-Worli Sea-Link (2010) = 4.7 km over water – eight (8) lanes (see photos below)

Bandra-Worli Sea-Link – Source:


Reunion Island – RN-1/Route du Littoral (2022) = 5.4 km over water, six (6) lanes (see photo below)



St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida – CR 611/Bayside Bridge Highway (1993) = 4.3 km over water – eight (8) lanes (see photo below)

Bayside Bridge Highway – Source:


This entry was posted in architecture, bridges, Cars, cities, commerce, economic development, environment, geography, Highway displacement, highways, infrastructure, Maps, nature, pictures, planning, product design, spatial design, sprawl, Statistics, topography, tourism, traffic, transportation, Travel, urban planning, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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