The Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge, also known as the New Cooper River Bridge, is an eight-lane, cable-stayed bridge spanning three and half miles across the Cooper River. Completed in 2005, the bridge replaced two outdated truss bridges and made the Port of Charleston more accessible to ocean freighters, with its height allowing for vertical clearance. The bridge is named for retired U.S. Congressman Arthur Ravenel, Jr. who ran for the South Carolina Senate with a goal of getting the funding needed to build it. The bridge’s two diamond-shaped towers stand tall at 575 feet high.
The bridge’s construction enabled traffic to flow more easily from downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant and also has bike and pedestrian paths. Annually, the USA Track & Field 10,000-meter Cooper River Bridge Run takes place on the first weekend of April. At 1,586 feet wide and 13,200 feet long, it is the third longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere.
The bridge is located on US Route 17 between Charleston and Mount Pleasant. Walking or biking the bridge is nearly six miles roundtrip, and you can park on either end. The Mount Pleasant side has paid parking at Waterfront Park. On the downtown side, there is free parking off of East Bay Street. Many combine their trip across the bridge with a visit to the nearby Memorial Park.