It’s time to say wish a happy birthday to the one and only Ravenel Bridge. It’s a teenager and almost old enough to drive.
Happy 15th Birthday, Ravenel Bridge!
Yes, this week marks 15 years since the Ravenel Bridge, officially named the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, opened to traffic – cars, trucks, pedestrians and bikes.
The Ravenel Bridge has become an iconic symbol of the Lowcountry, and the subject of a gazillion photos, paintings and Bridge Run posters.
First of all, it’s a beautiful design. The double diamonds stand high toward the Lowcountry sky, their cables making delicate patterns that rise up to meet them. It offers constantly changing views as sun, clouds and weather change around it.
Second, beloved Mayor Joe Riley campaigned hard for large dedicated pedestrian and bike lanes. Thankfully, he was successful. The walking/running/biking paths on the ocean side of the bridge not only offer fantastic views of Charleston Harbor, but also one of the most pleasant forms of exercise around.
Here are some fun facts about the Ravenel Bridge…
- It’s the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America.
- The bridge took four years to complete.
- Building the bridge was a massive project involving a myriad of engineering and construction entities, all working together on a complicated schedule that had to take changing weather into consideration. Despite all that, the Ravenel Bridge came in on budget and a whole year ahead of schedule.
- The Ravenel replaced two bridges that used to join Mount Pleasant with downtown Charleston – the notoriously narrow John P. Grace Memorial Bridge, and the Silas Pearman Bridge.
- It cost $632 million to build.
- Builders used more than 100,000 tons of LafargeHolcim Portland cement in its construction.
- Due to the excellent construction of the Ravenel Bridge, the National Partnership for Highway Quality awarded South Carolina a National Achievement Award.
- Roads and Bridges Magazine ranked it seventh on its list of the “Top All-Time Bridges.” Also on the list: the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
- Every day, approximately 80,000 folks cross the bridge.
The Ravenel Bridge has become synonymous with the Lowcountry. It is, of course, the location of the annual Cooper River Bridge Run. Although this year COVID wreaked havoc with the race, next year’s Bridge Run is scheduled for March 27, 2021. Registration opens in a couple weeks, in early August. As race organizer put it, “Prepare to Get Over It!”
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