CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Transportation has reversed a lane of traffic on the eastbound Wando Bridge.
SCDOT cameras recorded the first drivers crossing a paved lane in the median to travel west on the eastbound Wando Bridge at approximately 3:04 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
SCDOT crews have been prepping the roadway over the weekend for the change, which they hoped to have operational by 2 p.m.Crews completed the placement of dividers to keep traffic from changing lanes closer to 2:30 p.m.
Officials announced the plan at a news conference Friday afternoon.
"That's something that we will have fully operational Monday morning by peak flows in the morning on Monday," SCDOT Traffic Engineer Rob Perry said. "We hope to have it working some by Sunday afternoon so we can make any adjustments we need."
Perry said raised delineators, 30-to36-inch-tall and made of high-density plastic, will be spaced along the center lanes of the eastbound bridge to separate the two directions of traffic.
The plan involves reducing westbound traffic coming from Mount Pleasant ahead of the Wando Bridge to a single lane and down to a work-zone speed of 45 mph. Traffic will then move across a paved crossover onto the eastbound Wando Bridge.
Eastbound traffic headed from West Ashley will be reduced to a single lane ahead of the Wando Bridge to accommodate westbound traffic.
Once traffic is rerouted back to its usual side of I-526, lanes will expand back to two lanes.
Perry also said electronic signs will display travel times to help drivers decide if the new two-way option is best for their commute.
Existing detours put into operation last week when the westbound bridge closure was announced will remain in place.
Earlier Sunday, crews allowed the media a closer look at the operations:
On Saturday, SCDOT officials were urging motorists to visit their website, www.scdot.org, for more information on the new options to determine which route would be best. The site has helpful information such as maps, traffic cameras and visualizations of the new traffic configuration showing the "two-way" traffic on the eastbound bridge, SCDOT spokesman Robert Kudelka said.
Gov. Henry McMaster sent a letter to Transportation Sec. Christy Hall on Thursday requesting her agency develop and execute a plan for reversing an eastbound lane of the James B. Edwards Bridge, commonly known as the Wando Bridge.
Workers began making preparations for a possible crossover lane on I-526. On Friday afternoon, the SCDOT tweeted photos of paving underway.