High Wind Bridge Safety: What to know before you hit the road

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – As Tropical Storm Isaias makes its way through the Lowcountry, many are wondering when – or if – Lowcountry bridges will close to traffic.

The Charleston County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) works closely with law enforcement officers to receive updates on wind speeds on the various bridges throughout the County during an emergency situation, like a hurricane or tropical storm.

Condition Yellow: 30 MPH Sustained Winds

When the EOC receives reports from law enforcement officers that sustained wind speeds have reached 30 mph, the media will be asked to put out a message to the public that high profile vehicles will be advised not to use high span (65 feet or higher) or exposed bridges, and the public should use extreme caution if they decide to travel over bridges.

High profile vehicles are:

  • Box-type trucks similar to those operated by the United Parcel Service (UPS)
  • Tractor-trailers
  • Motor homes
  • Vehicles pulling travel trailers, box-type trailers, large sailboats or other watercraft

Condition Red: 40 MPH Sustained Winds

When the EOC receives reports from law enforcement officers that sustained wind speeds have reached 40 mph, the media will be asked to put out a message to the public that high span (65 feet or higher) or exposed bridges are unsafe for public travel. At these wind speeds, law enforcement officers may not be present at bridges due to unsafe conditions. Anyone who drives over bridges against the advisory is doing so at their own risk.

According to the county, motorists are warned that in addition to the measured sustained wind speeds, there could be unexpected and dangerous wind gusts of higher speeds.

High span (65 feet high or higher) or exposed bridges in Charleston County:

  • Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge
  • Ben Sawyer Bridge (Sullivan’s Island Bridge)
  • Breech Inlet Bridge: Connects Isle of Palms to Sullivan’s Island
  • Cosgrove Bridge (the “North Bridge”)
  • Dawhoo River Bridge: Edisto Highway SC 174
  • Don Holt Bridge: I-526 over the Cooper River between North Charleston and Daniel Island
  • Isle of Palms Connector
  • James Island Connector
  • Limehouse Bridge
  • McKinley Washington Bridge (the “Edisto Bridge”)
  • Stono River Bridge: Connects James Island to Johns Island over Maybank Highway
  • Wando River Bridge: I-526 over the Wando River in Mt. Pleasant
  • Wappoo Bridge: Connects West Ashley to James Island
  • Westmoreland Bridge: I-526 over the Ashley River

At 25 mph, draw bridges are locked down to boat traffic. Draw bridges and swing bridges, bridges that can be mechanically opened to allow for tall boat traffic to pass through from the water, will be locked down to boat traffic when sustained winds reach 25 mph or greater.

You can learn more by viewing Charleston County’s Emergency Operations Plan or by clicking here to visit their website.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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