FIRST ALERT TRAFFIC: SCDOT planning Wednesday update on Wando Bridge closure

A photo of the cable (Source: SCDOT)
A photo of the cable (Source: SCDOT)
Highway 17 headed toward the Ravenel Bridge Tuesday morning (Source: Live 5)
Highway 17 headed toward the Ravenel Bridge Tuesday morning (Source: Live 5)
Cars and trucks it in traffic on Monday (Source: Live 5)
Cars and trucks it in traffic on Monday (Source: Live 5)

MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - SCDOT officials is planning a news conference on Wednesday to update the status of the Wando Bridge and give drivers an idea of how long a current bridge closure could last.

Tuesday marked the second day of an emergency closure of the westbound lanes of the bridge announced Monday afternoon. The shutdown followed the discovery of a snapped cable inside the bridge structure.

On Monday afternoon, SCDOT officials said it would take approximately 48 hours to complete an inspection of the bridge. Their news conference is set for 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The hassle Monday night gave drivers the first taste of traffic because of the closure while Tuesday morning offered a look at traffic during the morning rush as some Lowcountry residents faced delays getting to work and school.

It still took most drivers a longer amount of time to get to work and school. A Mount Pleasant police officer overrode the light at Highway 17 and Mathis Ferry to try and alleviate some of the traffic. Traffic also backed up on the Ravenel Bridge into Mount Pleasant with a larger stand-still than usual.

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.

The Daniel Island Ferry is also running a commuter schedule. Click here for tickets.

SCDOT Deputy Secretary for Engineering Leland Colvin said Monday that the closure is expected to take 48 hours, but could take longer. A 48-hour closure would reopen the westbound lanes around 4 p.m. Wednesday.

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.

CCSD Bus Schedule

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.

For children and parents concerned about making it to school on-time for Advanced Placement exams, the district issued the following statement:

"There is a plan in place to accommodate students on this matter; our schools and the district will coordinate with the College Board to support students if they miss their AP tests due to traffic issues tomorrow."

Port Hours Adjusted 

The South Carolina Ports Authority has also announced adjusted gate times for the Wando Terminal because of the traffic.

Tuesday the gates will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and the reefer cut-off is 10 p.m.

Wednesday the gates will open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., close from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and reopen from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

When gates open on Wednesday, truckers are advised to stay off the approach roads to the terminal including Long Point road until the gates open.

Bridge opened to traffic in 1991

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 designed 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.

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