Silas N. Pearman Bridge

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This article is about the second original bridge which was demolished. For the original bridge which was demolished with it, see John P. Grace Memorial Bridge. For the current bridge, see Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.

New Cooper River Bridge
Silas N. Pearman & Grace Memorial Bridges (Charleston, South Carolina).jpg
Pearman Bridge is on the right and the Grace Memorial Bridge is on the left
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Carries US 17
Crosses Cooper River and Town Creek
Locale Charleston, SC
Official name Silas N. Pearman Bridge
Maintained by SCDOT
Design Cantilever truss with suspended center span
Width 40 ft (12 m)
Height 250 ft (76 m)
Longest span 760 ft (232 m)
Clearance below 155 ft (47 m)
Construction end 1966
Opened April 29, 1966
Closed July 16, 2005

The Silas N. Pearman Bridge, known locally as the New Cooper River Bridge from the opening date to the groundbreaking of its replacement, was a cantilever bridge that crossed the Cooper River in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. It opened in 1966 to relieve traffic congestion on the companion John P. Grace Memorial Bridge. It was built by the South Carolina Department of Transportation and was designed by HNTB Corporation.


At the time it opened, it consisted of two lanes to carry US 17 northbound traffic and one lane that was reversible. The two lanes of the Grace Bridge were then made to carry only southbound traffic. In this manner, the reversible lane could be used in the direction of heavy traffic in the mornings and evenings as Mount Pleasant was effectively a bedroom community at the time.


Once the Grace Bridge was posted with a load limit and could not carry large trucks, the reversible lane was made southbound permanently. This made sure that trucks had access across the Cooper River at all times. Unfortunately, this also meant that there was always oncoming traffic on the Pearman Bridge. Fatal head-on collisions on the Pearman Bridge led to a debate about constructing a barrier to separate traffic. The debate was resolved when the transportation department installed plastic delineators on the bridge during its final years.


Both bridges were replaced by the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge in 2005. Demolition on the Pearman Bridge started on August 6, 2005. One of the piers was intentionally left standing as a sort of memorial to the bridge, and can be seen by motorists getting onto the new bridge from East Bay Street in Charleston.

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