The new Cooper River Bridge was scheduled to be dedicated and opened to traffic today. The dedication to Arthur Ravenel Jr. was preceded by a week of events, including two afternoons when the public was invited to walk around on the bridge and a black-tie celebration. The $200-per-person black-tie event included a view of the sunset, food, cocktails and music played by the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. A fireworks display was scheduled for the night of July 14 just before the inaugural lighting of the bridges 128 cables.
The Ravenel Bridge, named for a South Carolina state senator who helped secure the funding for the bridge, is the longest cable-stayed span in North America with a main span of 1,546 ft.
To keep traffic moving, the bridge has a $17 million intelligent transportation system that includes 14 cameras and 24 radar scanners to monitor the bridge. Data from the system is transmitted to SCDOTs monitoring stations in Charleston and Columbia and to the local traffic stations and police departments in Charleston and Mount Pleasant. If there is a traffic backup, for instance, SCDOT can respond by sending a message to electric message boards advising travelers to take another route.