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On This Day In Newport History – June 28, 1969: Newport Bridge Opens For First Time


The Claiborne Pell Bridge, commonly known as the Newport Bridge, opened on this day in 1969.

The main span of the Newport Bridge is 488 metres (1,601 ft), ranking it number 87 among the longest suspension bridges in the world, and making it the longest suspension bridge in New England.

The bridge was constructed from 1966 to 1969 at a cost of $54,742,000 by the Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Quade & Douglas company. The bridge was renamed for U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell in 1992, but is still commonly referred to as the Newport Bridge by residents and historians. The bridge is featured on the Rhode Island state quarter.

The first time that runners were allowed over the bridge was when a group of 300 runners ran over in the early 1980s in a half-marathon for Save The Bay. In the fall of 2011, the inaugural Citizens Bank Newport Pell Bridge Run was held which marked the first time in recent history that runners were allowed to cross the bridge (which was closed to traffic).

 

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