Engineers seeking to improve vehicle and truck transportation and protect South Carolina’s multibillion-dollar container trade also had to deal with a history of huge earthquakes, 1886, nearly leveling Charlestown, mega hurricanes like Hugo in 1989, and the occasional out of control container ship.
Parsons Brinckerhoff designed and built the bridge to withstand wind gusts up to 300 mph (480 km/h), earthquakes up to 7.4 on the Richter scale and built 1 acre islands around the towers to ensure that ships would run aground before ramming and possibly seriously damaging them.
Ravenel Bridge, built in 2005 at a cost of $540 million and a daily traffic volume of 80,000 vehicles replaced the old cantilever truss Grace and Pearman Bridges with the longest cable stay Bridge in North America aka the New Cooper River Bridge.
The bridge accommodates eight lanes to handle the volume of traffic on the heavily traveled US Route 17. Ravenel’s longest span is 1,546 feet (471m) long and the bridge has a total length of 13,200 feet (4.0 km); it is the third largest cable stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere.
Professor C. Frank Starmer, associate Dean of Learning Technologies and Professor of Biostatistics and Bio Informatics at Duke University thoroughly documented the demolition of the old bridges and construction of the new on his website where much more information can be found.
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