In 1966, construction of the Newport Bridge in Rhode Island was started. The project took three years to complete and cost fifty million dollars. The bridge, spanning over the Narrangasett Bay, was renamed in honor of United States senator Claiborne de Borda Pell in 1992. Pell was a Democrat and Rhode Island’s longest serving senator.

The Claiborne Pell Bridge was built using the suspension bridge design formula. The main road is suspended on high tension cables. The suspension cables are secured on either end of the bridge. Its main span of 1,600 feet makes it the largest suspension in New England, and the 64th largest in the world. The bridge has a total of four vehicle lanes. Bicycles are prohibited on the bridge. The Claiborne Pell Bridge connects the popular tourist summer destination of Newport to Jamestown. Despite its name change, locals and historians continue calling the Clairborne Pell Bridge by its original name, the Newport Bridge.

Quick Facts:

  • Length: 1,600 feet (main span) and 11,248 feet (total length)
  • Constructed: 1966-1969
  • Type of bridge: Suspension
  • Number of traffic lanes: 4 lanes
  • Car Toll: $4.00 (both directions)
  • Connects Newport and Jamestown