Commuters Adjust To \'new Normal\' With I 526 Bridge Closure

A truck carrying a cable replacement material was delivered to I-526, according to the Public Information Officer Lauren Rountree with the SCDOT.

Officials discovered a cable snapped on I-526's James B. Edwards Bridge that connects Mount Pleasant to Daniel Island during weekly inspections. Officials closed the westbound lanes Monday. 

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State officials developed plans which would keep at least part of the Wando River bridge closed for several weeks. 

The Charleston Police Department has brought in additional personnel to help assist affected motorists in the Cainhoy area and throughout the city.

The City of Charleston Department of Traffic and Transportation is also actively monitoring traffic flow and signal timing impacts.  They are addressing issues as they come. 

What caused the cable to snap was not clear, but officials said water had seeped into the structure and caused some corrosion.

While acknowledging that the bridge closure would impact students and faculty East of the Cooper, when asked, the Charleston County School District says buses will run as scheduled. Parents and staff are asked to allow for extra travel time.

The Daniel Island Ferry announced a limited schedule of commuter service to help alleviate traffic congestion. Beginning immediately, passengers will be able to book their tickets online.

Hours at the Wando Welch Terminal gate have also been adjusted in an effort to reduce traffic congestion.

Charleston County flew a helicopter Wednesday morning for the SCDOT traffic flow management team. Mount Pleasant’s town engineer and SCDOT district engineers also performed aerial analysis of the traffic patterns both on and off of the detour routes. 

The bridge has been the subject of weekly inspections since October 2016 when a damaged cable was discovered in the same location where the snapped cable was found.

The bridge is the only segmental box bridge in South Carolina.  

The design features concrete segment blocks which are held together by cables.  It was designed by FIGG Bridge Engineers and completed in 1989.

Berkeley County officials continue to work with regional and state officials to provide support and spread information about the continued closure of the westbound portion of the Wando Bridge.  

 

“Because the bridge connects Charleston and Berkeley County, coordination is critical,” said Berkeley County Supervisor Bill Peagler.  

 

The coordination effort is being managed by the Emergency Preparedness Department, including the Berkeley Government administration and Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office. 

 

The SCDOT had national level experts begin the assessment of the bridge this morning, according to Hannah Moldenhauer the Public Information Office of Berkeley County.

 

While the bridge remains closed, law enforcement agencies in the area are working to observe and adjust traffic patterns to best alleviate congestion.  

The Berkeley County EMS can still get off Daniel Island via I-526, so Berkeley County has not experienced any delays in EMS response times due to the closure. Berkeley County 911 has communicated with consolidated dispatch and set up a separate channel for this incident. 

No other agencies have reported significant issues beyond heavier traffic. 

Moldenhauer states that the bridge closure poses significant traffic impacts on Berkeley County residents on Daniel Island and on the Cainhoy peninsula. Motorists are using Highway 17 North to Clements Ferry as a detour, therefore Clements Ferry is experiencing an increased amount of traffic.  

 

Phase 1 of Clements Ferry improvement project is underway, and motorists using this artery as a detour are asked to be patient and avoid peak rush-hour times.  

 

The Berkeley County Economic Development Department is in the process of reaching out to large employers on Daniel Island and along the Clements Ferry corridor to find out any issues they are experiencing and provide a central contact should a need arise. 

 

“The bridge closure causes major traffic issues for Berkeley County residents, and County leaders are focused on mitigating the impacts of the closure,” said Berkeley County Supervisor Bill Peagler. “Emergency response services have not been disrupted. We are hopeful this will continue and we will keep our citizens updated as new information comes out.”  

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WATCH: SCDOT inspecting Wando Bridge...
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SCDOT inspecting Wando Bridge

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Commuters Adjust To \'new Normal\' With I 526 Bridge Closure

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