One of the magnificent sites you’ll see on our Charleston Harbor tours is the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge spanning the Cooper River. Visitors can’t resist taking images of the bridge for their vacation scrapbooks or to share on Facebook. Even locals have some incredible bridge photos – especially at sunset.
The bridge opened in July 2005 and quickly became a Charleston landmark. It replaced two older bridges – the John P. Grace Memorial and Silas N. Pearman bridges. Both were narrow, aging and unable to keep up with the growth of the area and added traffic.
Locals watched as the two diamond tours were erected to a height of 575 feet each. The bridge — stretching 13,200 feet in total length — took almost four years to design and build and cost $632 million. It was the largest single transportation project in S.C. Department of Transportation history and yet came in under budget and a year ahead of schedule.
The bridge is named for Arthur Ravenel Jr., a South Carolina senator and then Congressional representative. In 1996, he was elected again as a senator; part of his platform included securing funding for a new bridge over the Cooper River.
Years later the bridge continues to be a hub for bikers and joggers who take advantage of the separate pedestrian/bike lane. And it’s hard not to snap a photo of the majestic diamond spans cast in an early morning fog, highlighted by a pink sunset or just from a boat underneath.
National media, construction trade publications and more have taken note of the bridge since it opened. In fact, earlier this year, CNN put the Ravenel Bridge on its list of the most beautiful bridges in the world.