Town and city leaders concerned about bridge closings - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Town and city leaders concerned about bridge closings

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A frozen Arthur Ravenel Bridge (Courtesy: Holy City Helicopter) A frozen Arthur Ravenel Bridge (Courtesy: Holy City Helicopter)
MT. PLEASANT, SC -

The town of Mt. Pleasant was crippled Wednesday as icy conditions kept the two main arteries in and out of the town closed.

Both the Arthur Ravenel and Don Holt bridges closed Tuesday evening as ice began forming along the roads. The Don Holt Bridge was opened late Wednesday afternoon after Department of Transportation officials said the roads were passable.

The Arthur Ravenel Bridge that spans the Cooper River is still closed, however, 24 hours after officials made the announcement.

"Unfortunately we are not as equipped as we should be to deal with these emergencies," Mt. Pleasant Mayor Linda Page said Tuesday afternoon.

Page said while her main concerns are the residents of Mt. Pleasant who have been unable to leave town, she is also concerned about the economic impact of the bridge's closing.

"This region has suffered billions of dollars in loss commerce in the last day and a half," Page said. "Even the port had to shut down."

Mayor Joe Riley also talked about the concerns he since this relatively new bridge is causing so many headaches for his residents.

"That's a cause of concern and I think all of us, the [SC Department of Transportation] and everyone else, [should] look at what can be done in the future," Mayor Riley said.

That's exactly what Mayor Page wants to do as well.

She said that she has reached out to the Town Administrator to see what Mt. Pleasant can do to help crews keep the bridge open. According to Page, the main agency in charge of the bridges' conditions is the Department of Transportation.

Despite concerns from leadership, however, a spokesperson said they don't plan on making any major changes to their winter storm plan.

"I don't think we're going to change a whole lot," James Law said. "We'll go back and reassess everything we did and the results we got, but we've done everything we possibly can do to keep the roadways open."

Still, Mayor Page wants to do more.

"This a new ice experience with this bridge, so I think it's certainly time to have a conversation about what we did, was it enough, can we do more, and should we do it sooner? Obviously we need to keep those thoroughfares open at all costs."

Both Mayors Page and Riley said they can't remember a time when the Ravenel Bridge has been closed for as long as it has.

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