Mt. Pleasant, S.C. (WCIV) — For miles and miles, drivers heading to and from Mt. Pleasant found themselves sitting in traffic Monday afternoon.
Some motorists gave up.
“A half an hour from that point to the bridge, our engines were overheating, we had to get off," a motorcyclist named Bob said Monday afternoon.
Bob and his brother Tom--were on motorcycles when the westbound lanes of I-526 were shut down due to emergency repairs from a broken cable within the bridge structure on the westbound side. The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) shut down the bridge, snarling traffic during rush hour.
“We'll burn the clutch up and wreck the motorcycle if we keep heading like this here, we needed to cool them off, we needed the airflow.” Tom said.
SCDOT said Monday morning, during a routine weekly inspection, they discovered a snapped cable. Around 2 p.m. Monday, they closed the westbound lanes of the bridge.
“We expect that evaluation to take 48 hours and until that time, we'll have that bridge closed and have more to follow once that inspection is completed,” said Leland Colvin, deputy secretary for engineering.
The Wando Bridge had its two-year inspection last month. The current evaluation is expected to help crews determine what caused the cable to snap.
“We looked at both the east bound and west bound bridges, we are getting some water intrusion, and seeing some deterioration of the cables, but at this time we don't know what caused this rupture,” Colvin added.
The closing has created a traffic frenzy across the Lowcountry.
“It will not just impact traffic in this part of Mount Pleasant, it will affect traffic all over Mount Pleasant.” Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie said.
Detours are in place along Highway 17 North to Highway 41, and Highway 17 South to 26 West. On Monday, Long Point Road was used as a detour as well.
“Beginning this week, we'll work with the State Ports Authority. They're going to adjust the gate terminal times to not coincide with rush hour,” Colvin added.
One of many adjustments that will have to be made while we wait for the west bound lanes to reopen.
Meanwhile, Charleston County School District said buses will run as scheduled.
“Buses will run as scheduled on Tuesday with delay notifications provided via Remind App. Parents and staff throughout the District are encouraged to allow for extra travel time, especially for those high school students taking Advanced Placement tests on Tuesday morning," the district states.