JAMES ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - SCDOT engineers said Thursday final repairs on the James Island Connector could take up to two months to complete.
A custom part will have to be ordered to repair damage caused in what an SCDOT spokesman called a "one in a million" kind of accident on Wednesday morning. Witnesses told engineers a car-carrying trailer struck and ripped out an expansion joint from the bridge's roadway but did not stop.
Temporary repairs began shortly after the incident and continued throughout the day on Thursday with intermittent lane closures, causing a second day of traffic delays. Engineers also placed large metal plates over the affected area to allow traffic to safely cross.
"Traffic was brutal," James Island resident Jared Parfrey said on Wednesday. "Traffic is atrocious. Whenever the connector gets jammed, everything else gets jammed."
"It was bumper to bumper," James Island resident Natalie Seay said.
SCDOT says the likelihood of someone crashing into a bridge's expansion joint is very low. An expansion joint is a metal insert that lies between spans of the concrete roadway and allows the road to expand and contract based on temperatures.
"I hope they find who did it. I'm sure the car he was in has evidence that he hit the bridge," Seay said.
SCDOT has not ruled out charges against the driver of the vehicle.
"You can't just hit a bridge and keep going," SCDOT spokesman James Law said.
Law said it's possible but unlikely the driver was unaware that he struck the expansion joint.
"That's absolutely insane that somebody would do that," James Island resident Melissa Duvall said.
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