FRIDAY FIVE: Little-known facts about the Ringling Bridge

 
 

The Ringling Bridge has become an iconic Sarasota landmark. Runners, walkers and cyclists traverse the towering stretch of concrete; tourists pose for pictures; and angles drop lines under the structure daily.

But, how well do you know the history behind the bridge?

As the Ringling Bridge celebrates its 10th anniversary, here are five facts about the architectural wonder you may not know. 

 

+ Robarts Arena became a battleground

The raucus debate about the new Ringling Bridge became too much for City Hall or most community buildings to handle, so stakeholders clashed within Robarts Arena.

+ In true philanthropic style

John Ringling drove a green Rolls-Royce over the first iteration of the Ringling Bridge Jan. 1, 1926, before it was opened to the public one month later. Ringling donated the roughly $1 million bridge to the city of Sarasota shortly after.

+ Healthy bridge, safe bridge

The Ringling Bridge is inspected every two years. It takes six people and two boats to perform the check-up — and this year the bridge received a clean bill of health. 

+ Traffic, traffic, traffic

More than 41,000 vehicles pass over the bridge daily — that number is nearly one-tenth of the total population in Sarasota County.

+ Lots of concrete

The bridge is made up of 150 million pounds of concrete, cables weighing nine million pounds, and took 575,000 hours to build.

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