SCDOT: Repairs to James Island Connector may take until June

SCDOT: Repairs to James Island Connector may take until June

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - SCDOT engineers say it could be June before repairs to the James Island Connector are complete.

The delay is in the custom expansion joint being manufactured to replace one ripped out in a freak accident on Feb. 11, according to SCDOT spokesman Kevin Turner.

"There is nothing 'off-the-shelf' about these parts," Turner said.

He says it is normal for expansion joints for larger expanses like the James Island Connector to be custom built to fit the specific roadway.

Turner says the agency found a supplier who could deliver the part in six to eight weeks, but says by the time crews receive the part and get it installed, it could be into June.

In the meantime, a temporary plate covers the area where witnesses said a car-carrying trailer ripped the old expansion joint out. SCDOT spokesman James Law called it a "one in a million" kind of accident because the likelihood of someone hitting an expansion joint is very low.

Crews were forced to place temporary metal plates over the affected area so traffic could still pass by, but had to replace one of those plates over concerns a protruding bolt may be a threat to car tires.

An expansion joint is a metal insert that lies between spans of concrete roadways and allows the road to expand and contract based on temperatures.

Witnesses provided SCDOT investigators a description of the vehicle involved. Authorities say the driver of that vehicle did not stop after hitting the expansion joint and ripping out of place, and have not ruled out the possibility of charges.

Law said it was possible but unlikely the driver could have been unaware he had damaged the bridge.

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