A Great Passageway Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge Charleston South Carolina
Photograph - Photography
A Great Passageway.......by Reid Callaway
The Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge
Charleston Harbor South Carolina
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.
Charleston's new bridge over the Cooper River is a cable-stayed suspension design with two diamond-shaped towers, each 575 feet (175 m) high. The total length of the structure is 13,200 feet (4.0 km), with the main span stretching 1,546 feet (471 m) between the towers. 128 individual cables anchored to the inside of the diamond towers suspend the deck 186 feet (57 m) above the river. The roadway consists of eight 12-foot (3.7 m) lanes, four in each direction as well as a 12-foot (3.7 m) bicycle and pedestrian path to the design, which runs along the south edge of the bridge overlooking Charleston Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean.
The bridge superstructure is designed to withstand shipping accidents and the natural disasters that have plagued Charleston's history. The span is designed to endure wind gusts in excess of 300 mph (480 km/h), far stronger than those of the worst storm in Charleston's history, Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Engineers also considered the 1886 earthquake that nearly leveled Charleston. The Ravenel Bridge is designed to withstand an earthquake of approximately 7.4 on the Richter magnitude scale without total failure. To protect the bridge from errant ships, the towers are flanked by one-acre rock islands. Ships will run aground on the islands before colliding with the towers.
The bridge includes a shared bicycle-pedestrian path named Wonders' Way in memory of Garrett Wonders. Wonders was a US Navy ensign stationed in Charleston and was in training for the 2004 Olympics before he died in a bicycle-vehicle collision. The path was included in design of the new bridge because of grassroots efforts by groups such as a fifth grade class at a local elementary school.
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May 25th, 2016
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