SCDOT: New Cypress Gardens Road bridge expected to open by Friday

VIDEO: New Cypress Gardens Road bridge will open next week

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The new Cypress Gardens Road bridge is expected to open to traffic by Friday morning, according to the state's Department of Transportation.

Officials had hoped to open the bridge as early as Wednesday night, but an inspection revealed the need for additional paving before the bridge can reopen to the public, SCDOT spokesman James Law said.

The additional work will delay the opening by 24 hours, which means it could open as early as late Thursday night.

The contractor had until October 28 to complete the work, but was given financial incentives to finish before that date. For each day the contractor stayed ahead of schedule, the contractor is paid an additional $20,000, Law said.

If the bridge were to reopen on Thursday evening before midnight, the contractor would receive an additional day's bonus.

"There's a lot of people who've been inconvenienced a long time. We're trying to make that time as short as we possibly can," Law said.

The bridge was wiped out back in April when a CSX train derailed and struck pilings that held up the structure. The derailment forced drivers to take a 22-mile detour through Goose Creek to get to Cypress Gardens.

Law says the bridge was completed earlier in September, but work was necessary on the access roads leading to the bridge as well as adding line markers. He said the bridge would have been opened sooner, but several rainy delays delayed the project.

Even with the rain delays, the project remained nearly a month ahead of schedule.

A lawsuit is pending in federal court that was filed by a group who claim CSX was negligent in causing the derailment. They want to be paid damages for having to take the detour.

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