If you are in downtown Savannah, or heading into Savannah from South Carolina, or from the west on I-16, the Talmadge Memorial Bridge looms up over everything. It’s an impressive sight and quite beautiful.
Completed in November 1990, this ‘cable-stayed’ bridge cost over $70.9 million. The Talmadge Memorial Bridge in Savannah replaced the old bridge which, built in 1953, just became too short for the taller and bigger ships needing access to the Port of Savannah. And after two different ships collided with the old bridge’s supports, the need for the new bridge became a necessity. Pieces of the old bridge still remain on both sides of the river, as the cost for the old bridge demolition ended up costing more than building the new bridge. As the ships become larger, it has become less expensive (though not cheap) to dredge the river to provide additional clearance under the bridge.
The south end of the bridge starts its rise in west Savannah and ends on Hutchinson Island. Hutchinson Island is home to the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center, and is an island between the Georgia and South Carolina coasts.
The Talmadge Memorial Bridge is named after Eugene Talmadge, who was Governor of Georgia from 1933-1937 and 1941-1943. While he was actually elected for another term in 1946, he died before he was inaugurated. Recently, there have been discussions to rename the bridge as Eugene Talmadge was openly racist and championed restoring the white primary and enforcing segregation of the state universities.
The bridge offers the best view of Savannah. Drive slowly over the bridge both ways to get the full experience. The bridge has two lanes going each way and there are sidewalks so you can walk or run along the bridge too for an even better view. (Just be careful to stay on the sidewalk while you’re admiring the view.)
Speaking of running, Savannah is relatively flat, so this is one of the few places to run with a grade. The bridge rise is about 200 feet, with a grade of 5.5%. You can run over and back, or over and then take the free river ferry back.
Or, in December, try the Savannah Bridge Run. You can try the 5k (race a single time over the Talmadge Memorial Bridge in Savannah), the 10k (take two trips over the bridge, and through historic downtown Savannah) or if you’re in really great shape do the double pump – run both the 5 and 10k for three trips over the bridge. This event and more are located close to Southern Belle’s Savannah vacation rentals; contact us to book your stay today!