During construction of
the Newport Bridge; 838 steel piles were driven under more than 160
feet of water and 90,000 cubic yards of concrete were poured for the
foundations and anchorages, which is believed to be a world record for
any single construction project at that time. The bridge's roadway is
225 feet above the water line and it's towers rise to 400 feet.
linking Newport and Jamestown, (Conanicut
Island) opened to traffic on June
28, 1969. Daily traffic on the bridge averages over 26,000 vehicles a
day. The Bridge was renamed the Claiborne Pell Bridge in honor of
Claiborne Pell of Newport, RI.
Claiborne Pell was
born in New York, NY on November 22, 1918.
He served as a United States Senator from Rhode Island
from January 3, 1961 to January 2, 1997.
Senator Pell graduated from
Princeton University in 1940 and Columbia University in 1946. He
served in the United States Coast Guard as a lieutenant during World
War II and retired from the Coast Guard Reserve as a full captain.
Senator Pell worked as a foreign
service officer in Czechoslovakia and Italy and then for the State
Department in Washington, D.C. from 1945-1952. He served on a wide
variety of government commissions and committees. Senator Pell served
as the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations during the 100th
through 103rd Congresses.
Senator Pell currently serves on
the Board of Governors of the National Parkinson Foundation.