Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge (Cooper River Bridge)

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge (Cooper River Bridge)

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge (Cooper River Bridge)

When the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge opened on July 16, 2005, it became the longest cable-stayed bridge of its time in North America and the tallest structure in South Carolina. In 2015, we joined the community of Charleston to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of this landmark bridge.

A Replacement Crossing

Grace Memorial Bridge (built in the late 1920s) and the Pearman Bridge (constructed 40 years later) once linked the city of Charleston and the town of Mount Pleasant. The two existing U.S. Highway 17 bridges over the Cooper River had become functionally obsolete, with too-narrow lanes, limited capacity and substandard vertical and horizontal ship channel clearance.

In an effort to improve traffic safety and increase overall capacity, the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) began the monumental effort of designing and constructing a replacement crossing.

The ultimate solution? A two-and-a-half-mile-long bridge with a 1,546-foot cable-stayed main span.


Completing design and construction of a project of this magnitude within a five-year window necessitated use of a design-build procurement method. In addition, challenges stemming from the project’s location and its incredible size required a unique approach to such project elements as construction inspection and project controls.

The new bridge had to be high enough to accommodate ship traffic to a world-class port, strong enough to withstand seismic events like Charleston's 1886 earthquake (magnitude 7.3), sturdy enough to weather hurricanes like Hugo and aesthetically pleasing enough to satisfy the discerning public eye. The new structure also had to meet long-term traffic needs. To that end, it has eight vehicular lanes, and pedestrian and bicycle accommodations.

The replacement was essentially five major projects in one: two large interchanges, two approaches and the main span. The awe-inspiring, cable-stayed main span boasts a deck almost 200 feet above the water of Charleston Harbor’s shipping channel and two diamond towers almost 600 feet high.

SCDOT is the project owner, and the T.Y. Lin International/HDR joint venture as owner's representative provided design review coordination, elements of design review and full construction engineering and inspection services. Completed in 2005, a separate team of consultants designed and constructed the bridge.


Since 2009, HDR | ICA has provided in-service inspection and operations for the bridge. We also provide asset management and maintenance services, including bridge tending, mechanical and electrical maintenance, warranty protection and preservation.

Explore Our Bridge Design Experience


The honors range from bridge size and pedestrian usage, to community relations and environment.


  • Co-Winner, Best Bridge with Spans Greater than 150 Feet, PCI Design Award Honorable Mention, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI)


  • President’s Transportation Award, Environment, American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials
  • Grand Award, Engineering Excellence Awards, American Council of Engineering Companies
  • Merit Award, Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement, Engineering Excellence Awards, American Council of Engineering Companies
  • Project of the Year, Roads/Bridges Category, Design-Build Best Project Awards, Design-Build Institute of America – NY Chapter
  • Excellence in Highway Design for Major Highway Structures (over $15 million), Environmental Excellence Awards, Federal Highway Administration/ U.S. Department of Transportation
  • Award of Merit, Bridges, PTI Award, Post Tensioning Institute
  • Gustav Lindenthal Medal, International, International Bridge Conference and Roads & Bridges Magazine
  • No. 7 Ranking, Roads & Bridges Magazine Top All-Time Bridges


  • Special Award, American Institute of Steel Construction National Steel Bridge Alliance: Prize Bridge Award, American Institute of Steel Construction
  • Globe Award for Environmental Excellence, American Road & Transportation Builders Association
  • Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award, American Society of Civil Engineers Innovation in Civil Engineering, American Society of Civil Engineers/World Headquarters
  • Outstanding Project Award in Bridge & Transportation Structures, Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards, National Council of Structural Engineers Association
Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge (Cooper River Bridge)
South Carolina Department of Transportation

Charleston, SC
United States