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Sidney Lanier Bridge facts for kids

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Sidney Lanier Bridge
Sidney Lanier Bridge Aerial.jpg
Coordinates 31°07′04″N 81°29′06″W / 31.11773°N 81.48503°W / 31.11773; -81.48503
Carries US 17
Crosses Brunswick River
Locale Brunswick, Georgia
Official name Sidney Lanier Bridge
Maintained by Georgia Department of Transportation
Design Cable-stayed bridge
Total length 7,779 ft (2371 m)
Width 79.5 ft (24 m)
Longest span 1,250 feet (381 m)
Clearance below 185 feet
Opened 2003

The Sidney Lanier Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge that spans the Brunswick River in Brunswick, Georgia, carrying four lanes of U.S. Route 17. The current bridge was built as a replacement to the original vertical-lift bridge, which was twice struck by ships. It is currently the longest-spanning bridge in Georgia and is 480 feet (150 m) tall. It was named for poet Sidney Lanier. Each year (usually in February), there is the "Bridge Run" sponsored by Southeast Georgia Health System when the south side of the bridge is closed to traffic and people register to run (or walk) the bridge.

The bridge hosts the WX4BWK amateur radio repeater on the top of one of its pillars.


The original Sidney Lanier Bridge was opened June 22, 1956, and was built by Sverdrup & Parcel, the same firm that designed the I-35W Mississippi River bridge which collapsed in 2007. On November 7, 1972 the ship African Neptune struck the bridge, causing parts of the bridge to collapse and causing several cars to fall into the water. Ten deaths were caused by the accident. On May 3, 1987 the bridge was again struck by a ship, this time by the Polish freighter Ziemia Bialostocka.

Scenes from the original version of The Longest Yard were filmed on the first Sidney Lanier Bridge. The raising of the lift span was used by Burt Reynolds' character to escape the police.

Comparison with two other bridges

The proximity and rivalry between Charleston, South Carolina, Savannah and Brunswick often led to comparisons between the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, the Talmadge Memorial Bridge, and the Sidney Lanier Bridge. Completed in 2005, the clearance under the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is actually only one foot higher than that of both the Talmadge Memorial Bridge and the Sidney Lanier Bridge. Unlike the Talmadge Memorial Bridge and the Sidney Lanier Bridge, however, the Ravenel Bridge has eight travel lanes; the Talmadge and the Sidney both have just four lanes. The Ravenel also features a dedicated bike/pedestrian lane.

Comparison of three bridges
Name Year Span Length Vertical Clearance Lanes Notes
Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge 2005 1,546 ft
471 m
13,200 ft
4,000 m
186 ft
57 m
8 Includes bike/pedestrian lane
Sidney Lanier Bridge 2003 1,250 ft
380 m
7,779 ft
2,371 m
185 ft
56 m
Talmadge Memorial Bridge 1991 1,100 ft
340 m
10,032 ft
3,058 m
185 ft
56 m


Until the 2003 completion of the Sidney Lanier Bridge, the Dames Point Bridge in Jacksonville, Florida was the only bridge in the United States to feature the harp stay arrangement.


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