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Encyclopedia > Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge
Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge
Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge
The Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge stands in front of the two other Cooper River Bridges it replaces.
Official name Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge
Carries U.S. Route 17
Crosses Cooper River
Locale Charleston, South Carolina
Maintained by South Carolina Department of Transportation
Design Cable-stayed bridge
Longest span 1,546 feet (471 m)
Total length 13,200 feet (4.0&npsp;km)
Width eight 12-foot (3.7 m) lanes
Clearance below 186 feet (57 m)
Opening date July 16, 2005
Coordinates 32°48′10″N, 79°54′54″W

The Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge or New Cooper River Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge over the Cooper River in South Carolina, connecting downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant. The eight lane bridge satisfied the capacity of U.S. Highway 17 when it opened in 2005 to replace two obsolete truss bridges. With a main span of 1,546 feet (471 m), the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge is the longest cable-stayed bridge that carries vessels other than public transportation (i.e. passenger cars) in the Western Hemisphere. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (2148x1612, 624 KB) Other versions Cropped version of Image:C-17 Flying over Arthur Ravenel Bridge. ... United States Highway 17 is a north-south United States highway. ... The Cooper River is a river in the U.S. state of South Carolina. ... Nickname: The Holy City, The Palmetto City, Chucktown, Port City, Charlie O C-Port City Motto: Aedes Mores Juraque Curat (She cares for her temples, customs, and rights) Location of Charleston in South Carolina. ... A cable-stayed bridge is a bridge that consists of one or more pillars, with cables supporting the roadbed. ... July 16 is the 197th day (198th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 168 days remaining. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Map of Earth showing lines of latitude (horizontally) and longitude (vertically), Eckert VI projection; large version (pdf, 1. ... A cable-stayed bridge is a bridge that consists of one or more pillars, with cables supporting the roadbed. ... The Cooper River is a river in the U.S. state of South Carolina. ... Official language(s) English Capital Charleston(1670-1789) Columbia(1790-present) Largest city Columbia Largest metro area Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson Area  Ranked 40th  - Total 34,726 sq mi (82,965 km²)  - Width 200 miles (320 km)  - Length 260 miles (420 km)  - % water 6  - Latitude 32°430N to 35... Nickname: The Holy City, The Palmetto City, Chucktown, Port City, Charlie O C-Port City Motto: Aedes Mores Juraque Curat (She cares for her temples, customs, and rights) Location of Charleston in South Carolina. ... Mount Pleasant is a town in Charleston County, South Carolina, in the United States. ... MAJOR JUNCTIONS JUNCTION POSTMILE {{{junction}}} Legend BROWSE STATE HWYS {{{browse}}} United States Highway 17 is a north-south United States highway. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The geographical western hemisphere of Earth, highlighted in yellow. ...

Contents

History

The first bridge to cross the Cooper River opened in 1929, eventually named the John P. Grace Memorial Bridge for former Charleston mayor John P. Grace, who spearheaded the project. The main span of the double cantilever truss bridge was the fifth longest in the world at 1,050 feet (320 m) and soared 150 feet (46 m) above the river. Following a 17 month construction at a cost of $6 million, it opened with a 3 day celebration that attracted visitors from around the globe. Engineers and critics proclaimed colorful descriptions of the unique structure, deeming it "the first roller-coaster bridge" and citing that "steep approaches, stupendous height, extremely narrow width, and a sharp curve at the dip conspire to excite and alarm the motorist." 1929 (MCMXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Grace Memorial Bridge was a cantilever bridge that crossed the Cooper River in Charleston, South Carolina. ... A cantilever bridge is a bridge built using cantilevers: structures that project horizontally into space, supported on only one end. ...

The Cooper River Bridge on opening day, August 8, 1929.
Enlarge
The Cooper River Bridge on opening day, August 8, 1929.

By the 1960s the Grace Memorial Bridge had become insufficient, with its two narrow 10-foot (3 m) lanes built for Ford Model A's and its steep grade. A new bridge was constructed alongside it, parallel to the 2.7 mile (4.3 km) span. Named for the South Carolina Highway Commissioner, the Silas N. Pearman Memorial Bridge opened in 1966 at cost of $15 million. Its three lanes, at a modern 12-foot (3.7 m) width, opened to northbound traffic while its older counterpart carried the southbound traffic into downtown Charleston. One lane was reversible on the Pearman bridge, which led to signs warning "Use lanes with green arrow" and "Do not use red X lane" on the bridge. Image File history File links The Cooper River Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina. ... Image File history File links The Cooper River Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina. ... August 8 is the 220th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (221st in leap years), with 145 days remaining. ... 1929 (MCMXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Silas N. Pearman Memorial Bridge was a cantilever bridge that crossed the Cooper River in Charleston, South Carolina. ... 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1966 calendar). ...


The two truss bridges had become functionally obsolete by 1979. Extensive metal deterioration caused by the lack of maintenance shortly after Grace Bridge's tolls were removed limited the capacity of the older Grace bridge to ten ton vehicles (later five tons), and the reversible lane on the Pearman was eliminated (it had been able to switch to three lanes northbound for rush hour traffic), making that lane southbound permanently, diverting all heavy trucks, busses, and recreational vehicles to that lane on the Pearman bridge. Neither of the bridges had emergency lanes, and the Pearman bridge had no median between the northbound and southbound lanes because of its reversible lane, and it was not until 2002 when flexible barriers were added to the Pearman bridge to prevent head-on collisions. The word ton or tonne is derived from the Old English tunne, and ultimately from the Old French tonne, and referred originally to a large cask with a capacity of 252 wine gallons, which holds approximately 2100 pounds of water. ...


Furthermore, the vertical clearance above the river – once among the highest in the world – could no longer accommodate modern shipping vessels. Three of Charleston’s four shipping terminals are situated up the Cooper and Wando Rivers, and the limited bridge clearance excluded the access of ships that would otherwise be beneficial to the economy of South Carolina. Once the old bridges are disassembled, the world’s largest modern container ships will be able to access all terminals of the nation's fourth-largest container port. The Wando River is a tidewater river in the coastal area of South Carolina. ...


Building the Bridge

Funding

Raising financial support for a new eight-lane bridge over the Cooper River was a struggle 20 years in the making, prolonged by the state's insistence that it could not afford such a bridge and by Charleston's reluctance to provide any funds for the project. Several proposals were made for a toll bridge, but the mayors of Charleston and Mount Pleasant objected. When officials revealed in 1995 that the Grace Bridge scored a 4 out of 100 for safety and integrity, retired U.S. Congressman Arthur Ravenel, Jr. ran for the South Carolina Senate with a goal of solving the funding problem. He helped to establish the S.C. Infrastructure Bank and worked with local, state, and federal officials to create partnerships that helped to materialize the final funding. The South Carolina Senate is the upper house of the South Carolina General Assembly. ...


The State Infrastructure Bank budgeted $325 million to accompany $96.6 million from the Federal Highway Administration. The project did not become a reality, however, until the SIB agreed to commit to a $215 million federal loan, provided that Charleston County would contribute $3 million a year for 25 years, including an 8.33% sales tax increase, to the federal loan, as well as yearly payments from the SCDOT and State Ports Authority. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is a division of the United States Department of Transportation that specializes in highway transportation. ... Charleston County is a county located in the state of South Carolina. ...


Design

Road deck of the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge.
Road deck of the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge.

Charleston’s new bridge over the Cooper River is a cable-stayed suspension design with two diamond-shaped towers, each soaring to a height of 575 feet (175 m). The total length of the structure is 13,200 feet (4.0 km), with the main span stretching 1,546 feet (471 m) between the towers. 128 individual cables anchored to the inside of the diamond towers suspend the deck 186 feet (57 m) above the river. The roadway consists of eight 12-foot (3.7 m) lanes, four in each direction. A campaign by locals eventually led to the addition of a 12-foot bicycle and pedestrian path to the design, which runs along the entire south edge of the bridge overlooking Charleston Harbor. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1200x800, 356 KB) Arthur Ravenel, Jr. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1200x800, 356 KB) Arthur Ravenel, Jr. ... A cable-stayed bridge is a bridge that consists of one or more pillars, with cables supporting the roadbed. ...


The bridge superstructure is designed to withstand shipping accidents and the natural disasters that have plagued Charleston’s history. The span can to endure wind gusts in excess of 300mph (480 km/h), far stronger than those of the worst storm in Charleston's history, Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Engineers also had to be mindful of the 1886 earthquake that nearly leveled Charleston. The Ravenel Bridge will withstand an earthquake to approximately 7.4 on the Richter scale without total failure. To protect the bridge from uncontrolled ships, the towers are flanked by one-acre rock islands. Any ship will run aground on the islands before it can collide with the towers. Lowest pressure 918 mbar (hPa) Damages $10 billion (1989 USD) $13. ... 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Charleston Earthquake of 1886 was the largest quake to hit the Southeastern United States. ... The Richter magnitude test scale (or more correctly local magnitude ML scale) assigns a single number to quantify the size of an earthquake. ...


Construction

The deck of the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge ascends 186 feet (57 m) above the Cooper River, nearly 50 feet above the Grace and Pearman bridges. Construction of the Ravenel Bridge roadway actually occurred over the top of the old truss bridges, which remained open to traffic without interruption. The estimated completion date was July 2006, five years after the groundbreaking. The bridge was dedicated and opened on July 16, 2005 – one year ahead of schedule and under budget. July 16 is the 197th day (198th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 168 days remaining. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Bridge Run

The bridge is home to the annual USA Track & Field 10,000 meter Cooper River Bridge Run on the first weekend of April. This event attracts up to 50,000 people. The route starts in Mount Pleasant and finishes in downtown Charleston at Liberty Square. The Cooper River Bridge Run is an annual 10,000 meter run, sanctioned by USA Track and Field, held in the cities of Mount Pleasant and Charleston in South Carolina, on the first Saturday in April, unless it is the day before Easter Sunday, when the event is held on... Mount Pleasant is a town in Charleston County, South Carolina, in the United States. ...


References

  • Annan, Jason; & Gabriel, Pamela (2002). The Great Cooper River Bridge. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 1-57003-470-2
  • The Cooper River Bridge (2004). South Carolina Department of Transportation Accessed July 23, 2005.
  • Porter, Arlie: "State finalizes Cooper River bridge funding." The Post and Courier, July 2, 2001.
  • Roko, Ellyde: "New bridge ends its 'long journey'." The State, July 17, 2005.

July 23 is the 204th day (205th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 161 days remaining. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... July 2 is the 183rd day of the year (184th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 182 days remaining. ... 2001: A Space Odyssey. ... July 17 is the 198th day (199th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 167 days remaining. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

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