MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - A pleasant surprise greeted Mt. Pleasant motorists on Monday afternoon: the new Shem Creek Bridge opened on Bowman Road.
The bridge was set to open to motorists at 11 p.m., but crews allowed traffic on by 4:15 p.m. The bridge will eventually be a four-lane bridge, although tonight's opening will only feature one open lane in each direction.
The other lanes are expected to open in the spring of 2013, when the Bowman Road-widening project is complete.
Road crews blocked traffic on the Shem Creek Bridge on Bowman Road five months ago to widen it. It was a busy day at the Paws in Paradise doggie daycare, but new business owner Brittany Marrazzo says since she opened things have actually been a little rough.
"Two weeks before I opened, they closed the road. I didn't know they were going to close the road. Then I learned it was for five months, so it was a little discouraging," Marrazzo said.
The daycare and grooming shop is located right on Bowman Road, right where Charleston County Roadwise crews closed Shem Creek Bridge, to widen it from two lanes to four lanes. The construction is part of the Johnnie Dodds Boulevard project to improve traffic flow through Mount Pleasant.
"Once it's done I think the project will be great for the town of Mount Pleasant. We're sort of part of that area. We're excited about it. We think it will be good. We think people will be able to find us," Dr. Bjorn Miller of Nason Medical Center said.
Dr. Miller says business has slowed at least 10% during the road construction. The office is located right at the Bowman Road and Johnnie Dodds intersection.
"It's been a challenge at times, but overall I think it will be good for the area," Dr. Miller said.
"I'm hoping people see us now, just driving by to work. This is a main road, I can't believe they closed it for five months, that's a long time," Marrazzo said.
Businesses say the roadway reopened around 3 p.m. Only two of the four lanes will be open for now, as county road crews continue widening the rest of Bowman Road.
Construction of the Johnnie Dodds Boulevard Traffic Improvement Project started back in 2010. It runs from the Ravenel Bridge to the I-526 interchange and should be complete by spring.