State Sen. Larry Grooms says it's time to start planning for a new Wando River Bridge

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The chairman of the state Senate Transportation Committee says he believes it's time to start talking about replacing the Wando Bridge.

State Sen. Larry Grooms commended SCDOT for catching the snapped cable.

However, one of his major concerns is even when the bridge is fixed how long will it last and that's why he thinks it's time to start planning for a new bridge.

"Are we going to get another five years, 10 years, or will it last another 20 years. We don't know.," Grooms said. "Those questions have to be asked and they have to be answered and there has to be high confidence in those answers."

The bridge is almost 30 years old and Grooms says it was expected to be in use for up to 50 years.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation is still investigating what caused a cable to snap on the Wando River Bridge causing the westbound lanes to close Tuesday.

"One of the reasons why I believe we should begin a conversation on replacing the bridge is because of the unknown, the unknown of why the cable failed," Grooms said.

It's the only bridge of it's kind in the state, and SCDOT officials perform daily routine checks after crews found a damaged cable back in October of 2016.

"Then when you go back previous years there's been other issues with this bridge but it's a unique bridge and any bridge in South Carolina no matter where it is requires maintenance,"Grooms said. "The bridge is a series of concrete pieces that are all held together with the cable."

Cables that can make or break the structure.

Grooms says there are 431 structurally deficient bridges set to be replaced in the state.

As of now, he says the Wando Bridge is not on that list.

"So when you're stuck in traffic try to understand that this is temporary. It will get better, but at least I'll be traveling on a safe bridge." Grooms said.

Gov. Henry McMaster has requested a lane reversal on the eastbound side of the Wando River Bridge, that side is still open.

Grooms says crews are working out those details to ensure traffic can be safely reversed.

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