CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Detours are in effect after the emergency closure of the westbound portion of the James B. Edwards Bridge along I-526.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation shut the bridge down Monday afternoon after discovering a snapped cable inside the bridge structure.
Workers discovered the broken cable during a weekly inspection Monday morning. The James B. Edwards Bridge connects Mount Pleasant to Daniel Island.
Officials say about 35,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day. Detours are expected to increase traffic volume on Highway 17 near the Ravenel Bridge and Highway 41.
“This affects all of us,” said Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie. “There is nobody in Mount Pleasant who is going to not be affected by this.”
The Mount Pleasant Police Department plans to put additional officers at major intersections to help keep traffic flowing. Police will override traffic lights, if necessary.
SCDOT is conducting an evaluation of the bridge, which is expected to take at least 48 hours.
“We’ll have to see what the assessment tells us over the next 48 hours of what we’ll need to do to get the bridge open to traffic, but I can assure you that the DOT folks, our national experts, are working around the clock to complete the assessment,” said Leland Colvin, SCDOT Deputy Secretary for Engineering.
The bridge has been the subject of weekly inspections since October of 2016, when a damaged cable was discovered in the same location where the snapped cable was found.
The bridge is the only segmental box bridge in South Carolina. The design features concrete segment blocks which are held together by cables. It was designed by FIGG Bridge Engineers, and completed in 1989.
Because of the bridge closure, lane closures on I-26 between Cosgrove Avenue and the Ravenel Bridge have been postponed.
While acknowledging that the bridge closure would impact students and faculty East of the Cooper, the Charleston County School District says buses will run as scheduled on Tuesday.
Parents and staff are encouraged to allow for extra travel time, especially for those high school students taking advanced placement tests on Tuesday morning.
The Daniel Island Ferry announced a limited schedule of commuter service to help alleviate traffic congestion.
Beginning immediately, passengers will be able to book their tickets online.
“We are selling one-way tickets so that passengers can plan their commutes around their own schedule and not be bound to a round-trip time,” said Scott Connelly, a partner with Daniel Island Ferry.
Hours at the Wando Welch Terminal gate have also been adjusted in an effort to reduce traffic congestion.
Truck drivers are being urged to staff the approach roads to the terminal, including Long Point Road, until the gates open at 9 a.m.