World-record bridge and causeway will be 24 miles long

If you live in the Middle Eastern countries of Qatar or Bahrain, apparently there are no worries about a world economic crisis. That's because those countries are teaming up to build the Qatar-Bahrain Friendship Causeway, a $3 billion bridge that'll be a jaw-dropping 13.6 miles long, with 11.2 miles' worth of causeway interspersed. Wow. That crossing will be nearly 24 miles long, which would make it the world's longest marine causeway.

There's a plus side to this story of obscene excess: Bringing some of that oil money back home is engineering company KBR from Houston, Texas, which was awarded the design and construction management contract for the gigantic project. From what we can see so far, it looks like an elegant design, but not quite as attractive as some bridges we've shown you.

These sheiks have their reasons for building such a structure — it turns a four-hour trip into a mere 30 minutes for the 10,000 to 12,000 vehicles its builders hope will be driving on it. With construction expected to begin next year, it'll take 4.5 years to build. What's next? A bridge from Europe to North America? Hm, sounds like a stimulus project.

Here's a diagram to give you an idea of the scale of this gargantuan span:

Mena Infrastructure, via Gizmodo