Skip to main content

Mount Hope Bridge


Gracing a channel in the Mount Hope Bay between Bristol, Rhode Island and Portsmouth, Rhode Island, the Mount Hope Bridge is a beautiful suspension bridge that was opened on October 24, 1929, replacing ferries that ran between Bristol and Portsmouth.  The Mount Hope Bridge carries RI 114 and is a two lane, wire cable suspension bridge with its towers at 285 feet tall, the length of the main span at 1200 feet long and the roadway sitting 135 feet over the water. The total length of the bridge including all spans is 6130 feet. The Mount Hope Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 31, 1976.

In 1920, Rhode Island legislator William Connery of Bristol requested that a committee be set up to investigate the construction of a bridge between Portsmouth and Bristol. The reason behind the request was that delegates from Aquidneck Island were often times late to their meetings in Providence during the winter due to ferries not being able to cross frozen water. It was decided at that point in time that it was not economical to build a bridge, but because of the increased use of automobiles and a need to connect two of the most populated cities in the state, the idea was later brought up again. This time, the legislators came up with an idea to sell the rights to build the bridge to a private entity.

Originally designed and owned by the New Hope Bridge Company, the construction of the Mount Hope Bridge began on December 1, 1927. The New Hope Bridge Company ran into difficulties just four months before it was to open to traffic as serious structural problems were discovered. Experimental heat treated steel for the cables had been used, which caused breaks in the cables and resulted in the span having to be disassembled and reassembled. The total cost of the bridge's construction was $4.2 million. But by 1931, the Mount Hope Bridge Company went bankrupt, and local brewery owner Rudolf F. Haffenreffer, purchased the bridge in receivership. In 1954, the Mount Hope Bridge was purchased by Rhode Island under the name of the Mount Hope Bridge Authority, now known as the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority. The bridge was tolled for many years, with the initial toll rate of 60 cents for crossing one way in 1929. By the time tolls were removed from the bridge in 1998, the toll was 30 cents.

The Mount Hope Bridge is also graceful, having been awarded the 1929 Artistic Bridge Award of the American Institute of Steel Construction as the most beautiful, long-span bridge built that during year. The design towers features a cross braced design with a Gothic arch above the roadway and was painted green, introducing the use of color in bridge design, as bridges were primarily painted black or gray at the time. Today, the Mount Hope Bridge fits in beautifully with its natural surroundings, and you may be able to see recreational boats traveling under or around the bridge. There is also a lighthouse called the Bristol Ferry Lighthouse that is near the Mount Hope Bridge. The lighthouse was constructed in 1855, but was retired once the bridge's lighting made the lighthouse redundant. The Bristol Ferry Lighthouse is near the grounds of Roger Williams University and you can visit it today.






How to Get There:

Sources and Links:
Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority - History
Portsmouth Patch - Travel Back in Time: Mt. Hope Bridge

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Signed County Route J37; the last Signed Tulare County Route and the Lone Pine to Porterville High Sierra Road

Recently I drove the entirety of Signed County Route J37 located in rural Tulare County.  Signed County Route J37 is notable in that it is the last Signed County Route which actually has field signage left in Tulare County and was intended to be part of a Trans-Sierra Highway known as the Lone Pine to Porterville High Sierra Road.


While researching California State Route 190 and more specifically the gap in the highway over the Sierra Nevada Range it became quickly apparent that there was far more to J37/Balch Park Road than initially thought.  The previous blog on California State Route 190 can be found here:

California State Route 190; the Trans-Sierra Highway that could have been 

On the above blog I attached an article from 1926 written by the Los Angeles Times detailing the route of the Lone Pine to Porterville High Sierra Road which was slated to begin construction in 1927.  The route of the Lone Pine to Porterville High Sierra Road would have followed Carroll Creek southward out…

Former US Route 99,US Route 466, and California State Route 65 through Famoso

This past weekend I explored the alignments of US Route 99, US Route 466, and California State Highway 65 through Famoso.



Part 1; The history of State Highway service in Famoso

Famoso is a ghost town and former Southern Pacific Railroad siding located in northern Kern County on Poso Creek.  The site of Famoso is located roughly at the junction of CA 99 and CA 46.  Famoso was founded as a Southern Pacific Railroad siding known as "Poso" during the early 1870s when the Southern Pacific Railroad was building it's main freight line through San Joaquin Valley.  The name of Poso was changed in 1888 to Spottiswood when the community received a spur line of the Southern Pacific and Post Office Service.  The community name of Poso was already in use by a mining community to the west in San Luis Obispo County which required a new name be chosen to establish Post Office Service.  The name of Spottiswood was changed to Famoso in 1895.

Famoso was an important early highway junction in…

Old California State Route 65 on; Famoso-Porterville Highway, Sign County Routes J35/J22/J29

Earlier in March I traveled down to Famoso of Kern County to take the original alignment of California State Route 65 north to Lindsay in Tulare County.


This blog is a spin off of the below entry on the Southern Segment of current California State Route 65.

California State Route 65; South Segment

Part 1; The Stockton-Los Angeles Road, the East Side Line, and early California State Route 65 on Legislative Route 129

The corridor of CA 65 is closely aligned to the Sierra Nevada Foothills which first became a popular route of travel as part of the Stockton-Los Angeles Road.  The Stockton-Los Angeles Road came into use after the 1853 Kern River Gold Rush began.  The Stockton-Los Angeles Road was a replacement of the earlier El Camino Viejo.  Unlike El Camino Viejo the Stockton-Los Angeles Road avoided the dense Tule Marshes in San Joaquin Valley.  The Stockton-Los Angles Road stayed close to the Sierra Foothills near the new claims on the Kern River watershed.  The earlier El Camino Vi…