Ed Lambert

Ed Lambert

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Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge – The Longest Cable-Stayed Bridge in North America

If you are visiting Charleston, you’ll want to check out the beautiful iconic bridge called Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge? This bridge has a rich history behind it and many interesting facts. Consider taking a boat tour to see the bridge up close and personal. Read more to learn about it.


The 8-lane Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is also called New Cooper River Bridge.

It was named after the Republican politician Arthur Ravenel, Jr. who was the driving force behind the bridge’s funding.

Cable-Stayed Bridge

This bridge is the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America, and it serves a daily traffic volume of 80,000 vehicles on a heavily-traveled US Route 17.

Details of this bridge:

  • Used cables that are anchored, bolted and fastened by 302 stainless steel special washers to the diamond towers to support a road deck and roadway.
  • The diamond towers extend 575 feet above the road and the cables attached to the towers can hold more than 500 tons.
  • The strongest of the 128 cables between the support piers on the bridge is comprised of 90 separate 7-wire stands twisted and formed together.

The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge connects downtown Charleston with Mt. Pleasant and crosses over the Cooper River.

Hurricane and Earthquake Safe

This bridge design can withstand up to:

  • 300 mph (480 kph) wind gusts
  • Has a Category 5 hurricane
  • Up to a magnitude of 7.4 on the Richter scale


One-acre of rock islands were built around the bridge towers to ensure that ships would run aground before ramming and possibly severely damaging the bridge.


This bridge runs from Charleston to Mount Pleasant in South Carolina with:

  • longest span at 1,546 feet (471 meters)
  • total length of 13,200 feet (4.0 km)
  • About 180 feet above the water
  • Height is 573’
  • Clearance below is 187’


The construction on this bridge began in 2001, and it officially opened on July 16th, 2005. The project was completed one year ahead of schedule and saving the taxpayers $150 million.


Before the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, the first bridge over the Cooper River was a narrow 2-lane toll bridge (John P. Grace Memorial Bridge) which opened in 1929. A second span (Pearman Bridge) was built to support the increasing traffic in 1966.

Cost of Bridge

It is reported that the bridge cost between $531 and $632 million to complete.

Bicycle / Pedestrian Lane

  • It is 13,200 feet long and has eight lanes for vehicle traffic and a bicycle/pedestrian lane
  • The diamond towers are 575 feet tall
  • No pets on the bridge allowed
  • 5 miles from oneside to the other, or 5 miles round trip

Pedestrian and Biker’s Path

Wonders Way is a bicycle-pedestrian path on the south side of the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge between Charleston and Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.

It is a path with:

  • Eight 12-foot lanes
  • Four in each direction dedicated to vehicles
  • 12-footpath or side lane for runners
  • Available for walkers and bicyclists
  • The path’s slope is between 1.8% and 5.6%


Due to the efforts of then South Carolina State Senator Arthur Ravenel Jr., the bridge got its funding.


Lego made a limited edition Ravenel Bridge Set

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