Report: Loose tarp reported days ahead of Don Holt tarp collapse not a factor in incident

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A preliminary report on the Don Holt Bridge tarp collapse states a flapping tarp reported days before netting and cables fell onto the roadway was not a factor in the incident.

Preliminary findings are "that the loose roof tarp was not a factor in the failure that occurred" on July 19. Instead, the report points to weather conditions at the time, which were windy and rainy.

The $9.6 million painting contract was awarded in June 2016 and the installation of a containment system for the bridge truss began in June 2017, the report states.

On July 16, the Sunday before the Wednesday afternoon collapses, SCDOT received a call from Highway Patrol Dispatch at approximately 1:16 p.m. after the Highway Patrol took a call from a concerned motorist reported a loose tarp.

"An SCDOT SHEP responder was dispatched to the bridge and did not note any issues with loose roof tarp that would impact the roadway or traveling public," the report states. Later in the day, the contractor secured the loose corner of the tarp, SCDOT investigators said.

Intermittent rain prevented painting by the contractor on July 16 and July 17.

The report states the contractor's workers re-inspected the tarp and reported the tarp was still secure on July 17. The following day, workers reinstalled and performed maintenance on the roof tarp, the report states. SCDOT's inspector once again verified the work had been completed.

SCDOT did not receive any further calls related to this situation on July 17 or 18, officials say.

The following day, netting collapsed onto the roadway at approximately 5:10 p.m., trapping seven vehicles underneath, police said. No injuries were reported, but the bridge remained closed until after the next morning.

SCDOT continues to work with the contractor to review the actions leading up to what the agency calls "this unprecedented incident."

A final report will be released as soon as all the data has been thoroughly reviewed, SCDOT officials say.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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