Sunday, July 17, 2005
NEW BRIDGE SPANS OLD RECORD
Hundreds of people filled an eight-lane highway on Saturday to dedicate the $632-million Ravenel Bridge over the Cooper River, the longest cable-stayed span in North America. The bridge's 1,546-foot main span is supported by cables stretching down from the tops of a pair of diamond-shaped, 570-foot-tall towers. Unlike suspension bridges such as San Francisco's Golden Gate, where the deck is suspended beneath two hefty main cables that connect the towers in a lengthy curve, the Ravenel cables extend directly from the towers to the deck. The eight-lane bridge which serves as a connection between Charleston and Mount Pleasant, South Carolina took four years to build. The Ravenel's main span is 20 feet longer than the Alex Fraser Bridge in Vancouver, Canada, which had been the longest on the continent.