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The New Arthur J. Ravenel, Jr. Bridge


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The need for a crossing of the Cooper River and Town Creek had been longstanding. The issue was how it should be done, and who would finance it. The solution came in 1928 when the dream of Charlestonian John P. Grace and others of building a Cooper River Bridge materialized, with financial backing from H.M. Byllesby and Company of Chicago and its allied financial group.

The 2.71-mile bridge, later to be named the Grace Memorial Bridge, was built in just 17 months, at a total cost of approximately $6 million. It was opened with a three-day celebration on Aug. 8, 1929.

The bridge was designed by Waddell and Hardesty of New York, with Charles Kyes Allen as their resident engineer in charge of construction. The sub-structure was built by the Foundation Company of New York and C. E. Hillyer of Jacksonville, Fla. The superstructure was built by McClintic-Marshall Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Virginia Bridge and Iron Company of Roanoke, Va. The main span of the bridge, 1050 feet between supports, was the fifth longest in the world, 150 feet above the river and 15 feet higher than the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

The new facility, which was the largest bridge of its type on the world, was operated as a toll bridge by the Cooper River Bridge, Inc. John P. Grace was the company

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