CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Today marks 15 years since the opening of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge (Ravenel Bridge).
The first bridge that crossed the Cooper River was built almost a 100 years ago in 1929. The Grace Memorial Bridge was the fifth largest bridge in the world at that time.
By the 1960s, the bridge had become insufficient and a new bridge was constructed parallel to it leading to the opening of the Silas N. Pearman Bridge in 1966.
After years of both parallel bridges no longer accommodating residents, the financial planning for the new bridge began and leading up to the construction of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.
The Ravenel Bridge was designed to be able to withstand shipping accidents and natural disasters including hurricanes in the Lowcountry, which was once a problem for previous bridges in its place.
State leaders broke ground on the Ravenel Bridge in 2001 and construction was completed in 2005. It opened to traffic on July 16, 2005.
The bridge has a main span of about 1,500 ft. and is the third longest among cable-stayed bridges in the Western Hemisphere.
Today, the Ravenel Bridge is one of the Lowcountry’s best sites and is the host to the annual Cooper River Bridge Run that attracts up to 50,000 people every year.