Millions of dollars repairs on Wando Bridge, but more work to done

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Transportation announced on Friday that crews have already made 6 million dollars worth of repairs to the Wando Bridge after a cable snapped last May.

Officials say even though a lot of work has been done already, they still have a long way to go.

Motorists who traveled along the bridge during repairs year saw the toll it took on the commute, but officials say upcoming repairs won’t cause as much congestion as the last go around.

Looking ahead to Spring 2019, there will be maintenance that impacts the commute including a couple weekends of lane reversals and night time closures.

The closures will be to repair things such as joints and reinforcing the deck ceiling on both the east and west bound sides of the bridge.

The weekend dates for the lane reversals have not yet been chosen but officials say they are trying to make sure they aren’t scheduled for a time with a big Lowcountry event.

SCDOT is asking people to be patient because this is for their safety.

“Safety is our number one priority. We will do the safe thing and close the bridge if we ever need to,” said Leland Colvin, the SCDOT deputy secretary for engineering.

Officials say that some of the work already done is state of the art, making any issue more transparent than ever with a new way to detect a cable issue.

“Each cable is really thick. If it were to snap then the microphones would pick it up and send a text to Charleston and Columbia,” Colvin says.

All of the fourteen recommended maintenance projects are estimated to be complete by spring of 2020.

Inspectors discovered a snapped cable on May 14, 2018 then ordered an emergency 48-hour closure of the bridge to allow inspectors time to examine the rest of the bridge and devise repair plans.

Two days later, the closure that lasted weeks was announced.

A crossover lane was eventually put in place to help ease traffic in Mount Pleasant before the bridge reopened ahead of schedule on June 2.

SCDOT officials said in June 2018 that acoustical monitoring and instrumentation would be added to the inside of the bridge which would allow for inspectors to hear a cable snap. Officials also said they would work to add redundancy to the bridge which includes two additional main cables inside the bridge.

SCDOT said major problems with the James D. Edwards Bridge were first noted during a 2010 biennial inspection. That inspection report and following final report were released in June 2018 just before the bridge reopened.

The findings included signs of water intrusion, corrosion and even pictures of duct tape being used for connections in the bridge.

The Wando River Bridge was open to traffic in 1991 and almost immediately had some cracking issues the state had to repair.

Copyright 2019 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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