Wando Bridge work continues
The week of August 17, residents of the Charleston region were greeted with the information that the eastbound portion of the Wando Bridge would be blocked with only one lane open. The westbound lanes of the same structure were abruptly closed for emergency repairs last May, snarling traffic for weeks.
The recent closure, which was expected to last from August 19 through August 21, took place at night between the times of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Repairs were conducted to reinforce and improve the bridge’s cable system.
“We’ve had some intrusion of saltwater on that bridge and we’ve had to replace a strand that the engineers found to be corroded, and one strand completely gave way,” said South Carolina Department of Transportation spokesman James Law. “So, we are replacing those strands, as well as adding two on each side to reinforce what we’ve got there.”
This will be the first of many repair efforts for the Wando Bridge.
“By next summer, everything should be back open and everything should be running smoothly,” Law stated. Last week’s repairs concluded on Monday, August 20, one day ahead of schedule.
On the projected year that the full repairs could take, District 99 Representative Nancy Mace said that it was preferable to any unnecessary injuries.
“The safety of commuters is first and foremost, so if it takes a year, we’re going to have to live with that,” said Mace.
With the memories of May’s bridge closure fresh in everyone’s minds, the prospect of another at the same bridge likely stokes fears of more dreadful commutes. But, Law said that SCDOT is doing everything they can to minimize traffic slow ups and frustrations.
“Hopefully, we won’t have to shut down any lanes for any [large] period of time,” he commented. “It will just be a lane closure at night and the weekends, maybe.”
“If they’re able to do some of the additional lane closures overnight, that helps commuters during the day,” Mace said.
Law added that SCDOT is “trying to do the work when it doesn’t impede traffic.”
The new round of repairs are being done to reassure engineers that the Wando Bridge can sustain the amount of traffic that it regularly sees. The bridge closure in May was ordered after a support cable broke.
Law explained that, in addition to the new cables, SCDOT will strengthen the bridge from future saltwater encroachments.
“We are going to put a sealer on top of that bridge to try to keep some of that saltwater from intruding into where the cables are,” he said.
Currently, no major shutdowns of the Wando Bridge are planned, although the truck lanes on both sides of the bridge will remain closed.