Officials pointing fingers at who's responsible for opening the - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Officials pointing fingers at who's responsible for opening the bridge before falling ice

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Damage done by ice falling from the Ravenel Bridge Damage done by ice falling from the Ravenel Bridge
On Thursday when News 2 asked the Department of Transportation spokesman, James Law, if falling ice posed a danger to drivers on the Ravenel Bridge he said it seemed more likely to cause a distraction than a threat.

On Friday the bridge closed for the second time in one week due to ice after drivers described ice falling onto their cars like being hit with a bowling ball and claimed to be playing dodgeball with their lives while driving the bridge.

Now that leaves officials pointing the finger as to who exactly was responsible for closing the bridge and who will now cover the cost of damages.

In a phone interview Friday afternoon, Mount Pleasant Mayor Linda Page said the DOT calls the shots on road closures, while DOT thinks of it differently.

"Mount Pleasant (police) made that decision, Mount Pleasant and the City of Charleston but we have some input any time it's closed off but they made the ultimate decision," Law said.
Neither the DOT or the town seem to be taking full responsibility, likely with the mindset that the cost of damage will soon land on someone's desk.

"I would suggest that since it is a state owned highway, and potentially the federal government because it's part of the interstate system, it wouldn't be the municipalities. Although we'll help in any way we can but any replacement windshields and damage will certainly be covered under state highway department," Page said.

When News 2 asked the DOT if they are willing to pay for damages, Law said they will have to "wait and find out," claiming the department was convinced all falling ice would drift to the side, not crash onto the traveling cars below.

"We've been saying since Tuesday it's going to be a concern. This doesn't shock anyone we all knew this was going to be a concern, whether it was going to be as bad as it is, we didn't know of course," Law said Friday afternoon.

However, there were dozens of people shocked based on the number of 911 calls. Women crying their cars were hit and windshields shattered, a man saying he was covered in glass and ice, others calling just to demand the bridge close down again.

One of the women hit tells News 2 her car insurance requires her to pay a $500 deductible before they cover the cost of damage, so she is waiting for the Department of Transportation to return her call on whether they are responsible.


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