MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - The SCDOT closed the westbound lanes of the Wando Bridge after discovering a snapped cable inside the bridge structure.
Two detours are in place, SCDOT officials said at a Monday afternoon news conference.
The first takes drivers from Highway 17N to Highway 41, then to Clements Ferry Road and back to I-526, SCDOT Deputy Secretary for Engineering Leland Colvin said. The second goes from 17S across the Ravenel Bridge and out to I-26 westbound.
Colvin said the SCDOT implemented a rigorous inspection program for the bridge after a damaged cable was discovered in the same location of the snapped cable in October 2016.
"This morning during that weekly site review, a snapped cable was discovered," Colvin said.
Crews are now working to implement a plan, and that is expected to take 48 hours, he said. It is possible the closure could last longer than 48 hours, he said, but there was no indication so far that the eastbound lanes would need to close at all.
Colvin said the bridge, which is used by 35,000 cars daily, a segmental box bridge consisting of concrete blocks held together by cables. It is the only such bridge in the state, he said.
Colvin said the SCDOT is working with area law enforcement and said the State Ports Authority has committed to adjusting gate terminal times at the Wando Terminal so as not to coincide with rush hour.
Earlier Monday, authorities were diverting westbound traffic on I-526 to Longpoint Road, according to Mount Pleasant Police Inspector Chip Googe. No traffic will be allowed onto I-526 westbound from Longpoint Road, he said.
As of Monday afternoon, only the westbound lanes were affected, Googe said. The eastbound lanes remained open.
Officials with the Charleston County School District released the following statement in regards to bus schedules that may be affected due to the lane closures
We have been informed that until further notice, I-526 westbound across the Wando River bridge will be closed.
This will impact the commute of students and faculty to and from areas East of the Cooper.
Buses will run as scheduled on Tuesday with delay notifications provided via Remind App.
Parents and staff throughout the District are encouraged to allow for extra travel time, especially for those high school students taking Advanced Placement tests on Tuesday morning.
"It will not just affect traffic in this area of Mount Pleasant, it will affect traffic all over Mount Pleasant," Mayor Will Haynie said.
He said the closure will require everyone to be patient because it will also affect school bus times and said the city is coordinating with the Charleston County School District.
"This affects all of us, there's nobody in Mount Pleasant who's gonna not be affected by this," Haynie said. "This is time for us to be courteous, the time to be patient, and the time to show the best of what Mount Pleasant people really are."
The Wando Bridge is officially known as the James B. Edwards Bridge. The bridge, which opened to traffic in 1991, was designed by FIGG Bridge Engineers, according to their website. FIGG is the same company that built the 950-ton pedestrian bridge that collapsed on March 15 on the campus of Florida International University.
The bridge connects Mount Pleasant and Daniel Island.