CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Thursday marks the 15th anniversary of the official opening of the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge.
The bridge, with its famous double diamonds, connects Charleston to Mount Pleasant and features a 2.5 mile long walking path, offering walkers and joggers a view of the Cooper River and Patriots Point.
The bridge opened to traffic on July 16, 2005 on budget and one year ahead of schedule, South Carolina Department of Transportation officials say.
The following year, "Roads and Bridges" magazine named the $632 million structure among the "Top All-Time Bridges," ranking it seventh in a list that included the Golden Gate and Brooklyn Bridges.
In 2007, it was honored again from the National Partnership for Highway Quality, which named South Carolina a state winner of its National Achievement Award program in recognition of the bridge’s construction.
The Ravenel is the largest cable stay bridge in North America and took four years of work to complete.
The bridge replaced two others, the John P. Grace Memorial Bridge and the Silas N. Pearman Bridge.
Some 80,000 people cross the bridge every day.
It is also home to the annual Cooper River Bridge Run, which was canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The bridge is named after former state Sen. Arthur Ravenel, Jr., who is credited for spearheading the effort to secure funds for the bridge’s construction. Born in 1927, the Charleston native, College of Charleston graduate and former U.S. Marine served in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1953 to 1958, in the state Senate from 1981 to 1986 and again from 1997 to 2004, and in the U.S. Congress from 1987 to 1994.