I guess by now you know I like bridges. I get a thrill out of driving over really steep bridges like the Mount Hope Bridge in Bristol, RI

  even the Sagamore Bridge over the Cape Cod Canal

 and I just  love photographing little wooden bridges or iconic covered bridges.

 To me, bridges are just cool.

I remember being a passenger on a huge combo bridge tunnel when I was a kid. I think we were in the south maybe crossing Chesapeake Bay. I’m going to find that bridge and drive it for myself one of these days.

But today I wanted to share what I have learned about the Newport Bridge also know as the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge.

First of all it is a suspension bridge. One of those bridges where the bed is held up by cables running down from vertical supports also called “Suspenders”. I think they look so fragile and beautiful.

The Bridge is operated by the RI Turnpike and Bridge Authority and spans the east passage of Narragansett Bay. Newport RI is located on Aquidneck Island. The only way into or out of Newport is over a bridge of some kind. The Newport Bridge connects Newport RI with Jamestown on  Conanicut Island, RI. The other bridge connecting Jamestown to the mainland is Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge, which is also a neat bridge that may be a subject for another time.

But back to the Newport Bridge, it is a modern 4 lane highway, 2 lanes in each directions and is part of RT 138. The bridge is the only toll road in Rhode Island. The toll is $2.00 / axle so for cars that makes it $4.00. It is also unique because Rhode Island residents with a Rhode Island EZ Pass pay a deeply discounted rate.Nonresidents pay full price. This discount is so unusual because it is the only toll in the US that gives a resident discount to non-adjacent neighborhoods.

The main span of the Newport Bridge is 488 meters (1601 ft), ranking it number 70 among the longest suspension bridges in the world, and making it the longest suspension bridge in New England. The overall length of the bridge is 3,428 meters (11,247 ft). Its main towers reach 122 meters (400 ft) above the water surface, and the roadway height reaches as high as 66 meters (215 ft).

The bridge was constructed from 1966-1969 at a cost of $54,742,000.

At night the bridge is illuminated by strings of lights that follow the graceful sweep of the suspension cables. I’ve been checking maps to try to find a good  spot to take a night picture.

Bicycles and walkers are not allowed on this bridge. However I may have just discovered a loophole. On Sunday, November 13, 2011 A fund-raiser called The “Inaugural Citizen’s Bank Newport Pell Bridge Run” will debut. The entry fee is $50.00. Proceeds from the run will benefit several local charities including the Special Olympics of Rhode Island.

Now I’m no runner but maybe I can be a “walker” if I pay the fee and that will get me on the bridge for  pictures…maybe? I am going to have to make some calls and if I get the OK then I will have to try to get the day off from work. The race starts at 6:30 am!

I promise if it am successful you will be the first to know! 🙂

Posted in Rhode Island and tagged , .