NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Drivers traveling the Don Holt Bridge have seen a change in its appearance over the last few days.
Portions of the side trusses have been painted in a 'Citadel blue' color as contractors use a different containment system than used before July 19, according to SCDOT spokesman James Law.
"I think they're taking a lot more precautions now, than originally after the problem that happened," said Bram Ballam, who travels the Don Holt often.
Law said the containment system Eagle Industrial Painting workers are using now can be taken down on a daily basis.
"That is probably better," Ballam said. "Probably safer for the people that are traveling the bridge often."
"Sounds like it's a much safer alternative than what they had with the tarps strung up there continuously for what seemed like weeks or months," said Gary Kovacic, of Mt. Pleasant.
Engineers for SCDOT and Eagle Industrial Painting are still working on developing a containment system which would be effective when they paint the upper truss of the bridge, said SCDOT communications director Pete Poore Wednesday afternoon.
"SCDOT and EIP will explore all possible means and methods to prevent or greatly minimize any possibility of a reoccurrence of this type failure," stated DOT Chief Engineer for Operations Andrew Leaphart Friday.
Meanwhile, workers resumed painting Thursday night underneath the bridge and then moved on to the side trusses up top.
Drivers reported seeing portions of the eastbound side painted Monday and Tuesday, and the westbound side Wednesday morning.
According to DOT officials, the work is being done during the overnight hours, mostly wrapping up around 6 a.m. based on DOT cameras.
"It's a balance," Kovacic said. "You're impeding traffic potentially at a rush hour if you do it earlier in the day, but the bottom line is the safety of the people."
According to a preliminary report from the contractor in July, an expected extension time was estimated at roughly 6-8 more weeks.
"Everyone would like to see it done, but safety is a primary consideration," Kovacic said. "If it's slow and safe, I'm okay with that."
The final report also states 12 drivers filed claims with the contractor's insurance company. At that time, only ten of them had gotten reimbursed for damages.