MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - The Monday morning commute brought the first true test for the I-526 crossover lane which puts one lane going in westbound direction in the eastbound lanes of the Wando Bridge.
The speed limit on the bridge is 45 mph, which is the same as it would be when traveling through a work zone.
"The-I-526 two-way traffic pattern operated as expected during Monday morning's rush hour traffic," SCDOT spokesman Pete Poore said. "Traffic moved steadily through the area. Travel speeds over the bridge ranged from 40-45 mph with congestion leading up to the bridge. At peak congestion this morning, SCDOT engineers estimated that drivers experience an additional 40 minutes of travel time. Following the peak, additional travel time dropped to 15 minutes."
While the two-traffic helped alleviate issues on the detour routes, delays were more significant on I-526 especially in the areas leading up to the crossover near the Don Holt Bridge.
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.
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. Barrels guide drivers on and off the crossover lane with markers also used to create a lane for emergency vehicles.
Untll Sunday afternoon, drivers were forced to take one of two detours around the closure. The first detour takes drivers from Highway 17N to Highway 41, then to Clements Ferry Road and back to I-526. The second goes from 17S across the Ravenel Bridge and out to I-26 westbound.
The snapped cable was discovered a week ago. Wednesday, SCDOT announced it would close the westbound lanes for four weeks with an expected re-opening date of June 11.
The cable material needed to repair the bridge has already arrived at the bridge as crews work to prepare it.