SCDOT Official: "We are all frustrated" about bridge closings - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

SCDOT Official: "We are all frustrated" about bridge closings

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DOT truck salts Ravenel Bridge (Source: DOT Camera) DOT truck salts Ravenel Bridge (Source: DOT Camera)
MT. PLEASANT, SC -

Interstate 526 was a parking lot Thursday morning as drivers attempted to navigate Mt. Pleasant's only icy way out of town.

As the Don Holt Bridge was packed with cars, the Ravenel Bridge was empty.

Throughout the day, crews from the South Carolina Department of Transportation worked to salt and brine the Ravenel Bridge to de-ice the roads. Some began asking questions why the Cooper River Bridge wasn't open sooner given that it is the largest artery out of town.

RELATED STORY | Town and city leaders concerned about bridge closings

A SCDOT spokesperson tells News 2 that the department has a very specific way with which they handle roads and bridges during a winter storm.

"You do the interstates, you do the secondary roads: The [Highway] 52s, the highway 17s... And then we move to what we call the farm to market roads which is the secondary roads," James Law said.

Because the Ravenel Bridge is a highway and not an interstate, that is why the Don Holt bridge was reopened first. Crews also discovered that the Don Holt was easier to de-ice because the lanes were more narrow.

Still, concerns arose across social media about the bridge's status. Tweets and Facebook messages to News 2 kept asking when the bridge would re-open and expressed frustration with sitting in traffic for more than an hour. Even a website was created to track the status of the bridge.

SCDOT said they stand behind the decision they made to not focus on the Ravenel Bridge first.

"We made the right decision based on the criteria we had," Law said. "This is not an everyday occurrence in the Lowcountry. We are all frustrated, but we don't put traffic out there before it's ready to open and safe to open."

Crews were able to do just that around 3 p.m. Thursday, roughly 43 hours after the bridge was first closed.

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