CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Ravenel Bridge was closed for a total of eight hours over the weekend as melting ice fell from the overhead cables, posing a serious danger to drivers below.
Over the past 18 years, the bridge has closed three times due to melting ice.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) began developing protocol for such events following the 2014 winter storm. The agency considered wax coatings, brushing systems, vibration techniques, and heating elements as possible remedies.
SCDOT’s first choice for addressing the problem was an electro-thermal de-icing system, but the grant for that project was denied.
Without the electro-thermal de-icing system, SCDOT opted for alternate measures, albeit less convenient for drivers.
The agency installed high-definition cameras “with pan, tilt, and zoom capabilities for the purposes of monitoring the towers and cables for melting ice,” and partnered with the Mount Pleasant and City of Charleston Police Departments to monitor conditions during winter weather.