State 125

The Ravenel Bridge: An architectural marvel

The Ravenel Bridge, as it was nearing completion in 2005.
The Ravenel Bridge, as it was nearing completion in 2005. File photo/The State

In July 2005, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge opened, creating an eight-lane roadway over the Cooper River connecting Mount Pleasant to Charleston.

With a main span of 1,500 feet, at the time of its construction, the bridge was the largest of its type in North America – a cable-stayed span bridge. Built to last 100 years, the bridge initially accommodated 50,000 to 60,000 cars daily, a number that was anticipated to increase to 84,000 within 20 years.

In addition to its strength and function, the bridge was designed to be aesthetically pleasing as well, and area residents were allowed to voice their desires of what the structure should look like. The final product, designed by architect Donald MacDonald of the San Francisco-based firm MacDonald Architects, resulted in a look that tried to echo the feel of the port city and included white cables to mimic sails blowing in the wind.

“It looks futuristic, and that’s good because we’re building for the future,” Mount Pleasant Mayor Harry Hallman Jr. told The State just before the bridge’s opening in 2005.

The bridge was named for Charleston-born politician Arthur Ravenel Jr.

About this series: The inaugural edition of The State newspaper was published Feb. 18, 1891. In anticipation of the 125th anniversary, the Palmetto section and this section at are recounting each day how The State covered newsmakers and events vital to South Carolina’s history.