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The Arthur Ravenel Jr. 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. Route 17 when it opened in 2005 to replace two obsolete cantilever truss bridges. The bridge has a main span of 1,546 feet (471 m), the third longest among cable-stayed bridges in the Western Hemisphere. It was built using the design-build method and was designed by Parsons Brinckerhoff. History The first bridge to cross the lower 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. The main span of the second cantilever was the twelfth-longest in the world. The total length of the structure was about 2.7 miles (4.3 km). 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." Privately owned originally, a $1.00 toll was charged for car and driver to cross. In 1943 the state of South Carolina purchased the bridge, and the tolls were lifted in 1946. By the 1960s the Grace Memorial Bridge had become insufficient, with its two narrow 10-foot (3 m) lanes built for Ford Model As and its steep grades of up to 6 percent. Later changes to the side rail and curb reduced the lane width further. A new bridge was constructed alongside and parallel to it. Named for the then-South Carolina Highway Commissioner, the Silas N. Pearman 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. 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, buses, 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. Furthermore, the vertical clearance above the river Ã¢â‚¬â€œ once among the highest in the world Ã¢â‚¬â€œ could no longer accommodate modern shipping vessels. Three of CharlestonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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. Now that the old bridges are disassembled, the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s largest modern container ships are able to access all terminals of the nation's fourth-largest container port.
Lowcountry Moon over Ravenel Bridge by Dale Powell
Lowcountry Sunset by Dale Powell
Ravenel Bridge Sunset by Dale Powell
Charleston Arthur Ravenel Bridge by Dale Powell
Beacon of Light by Dale Powell
Cable Stayed Bridge by Dale Powell
Charleston Sun Setting by Dale Powell
Ravenel Bridge Sunset by Dale Powell
Vignette Blur of the Ravenel Bridge by Dale Powell
Vignette Blur of the Cooper River Bridge by Dale Powell
Cooper River Brdge Full Moon by Dale Powell
Full Moon over Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge by Dale Powell
Vintage Grace and Pearman Bridges by Dale Powell
Unique Bridge View by Dale Powell
Old Glory at Sunset by Dale Powell
Salt and Iron by Dale Powell
Southern Tapestry by Dale Powell
Charleston Tapestry by Dale Powell
Cooper River Bridge Run 2015 by Dale Powell
Cooper River Bridge Run by Dale Powell
Cooper Bridge Run Lowcountry Style by Dale Powell
Diamonds by the Sea by Dale Powell
Salt Water Days by Dale Powell
Cooper River Diamonds by Dale Powell
Salty Charleston Waters by Dale Powell
Dark and Stormy Sunset by Dale Powell
Black and White Diamonds by Dale Powell
Vintage Cooper River Bridge by Dale Powell
Twilight over Historic Charleston South Carolina by Dale Powell
Cooper River Bridge Orange Glow by Dale Powell
Charleston Golden Hour by Dale Powell
Southern Allure by Dale Powell
Golden Hour by Dale Powell
Southern Glow over the Cooper by Dale Powell
Sunset Glow over the Cooper River Bridge by Dale Powell
Charleston Cooper River Bridge by Dale Powell
Cooper River Bridge Run 2016 by Dale Powell
Blue Sky and Green Grass by Dale Powell
Summer Grass by Dale Powell
Old Village Bridge View by Dale Powell
Lowcountry Bridge View by Dale Powell
Grace and Pearman Bridges by Dale Powell
Cloudy Day Grand Opening by Dale Powell
Bridge Opening by Dale Powell
Orange Shadows by Dale Powell
Wando River Golden Glow by Dale Powell
Ravenel Bridge Sphere by Dale Powell
Ravenel Bridge Towers by Dale Powell
Lowcountry Grace by Dale Powell
Marsh to Bridge by Dale Powell
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