For those of you who remember driving Highway 17 South over the John P. Grace Memorial Bridge (which spanned the Cooper River between Charleston and Mt Pleasant, South Carolina)…or for those of you who have never had the experience – I thought you might enjoy these videos of someone’s last ride across (in three parts). How nice that the music chosen for the videos is Dave Matthews singing “Grace is Gone“!
The bridge was owned by Cooper River Bridge, Inc., a private company. President of the company was John P. Grace, former mayor of Charleston. The bridge was built by a consortium of four engineering and construction firms. Construction lasted seventeen months, and the final cost of the bridge was six million dollars, to be financed by a 50-cent toll. The bridge had 2- 10 ft (3.0 m) lanes. In 1946 the state bought the bridge from Cooper River Bridge, Inc. and the 50-cent toll was removed. Unfortunately the same year a freighter rammed the bridge ripping down a 240-foot (73 m) section of it. Widening occurred in 1959 for a breakdown lane and in 1979 for a 3rd lane at the Charleston approach. By 1979, the bridge became functionally obsolete and there were many plans to replace the bridge, but not enough money.
Demolition of the Grace Bridge began in August of 2005.