Rhode Island Illustrated Event Covers
Opening of the Claiborne Pell (Newport) Bridge
June 28, 1969

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.

The bridge 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 retired Senator 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.

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