Tuesday marks one year since Wando Bridge closure caused traffic nightmare

Tuesday marks one year since Wando Bridge closure caused traffic nightmare
Several local and state agencies spent money on items such as gas, equipment, hotels and salaries while monitoring the Wando Bridge closure back in May.

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It was a typical Monday afternoon when one of the worst traffic headaches in recent memory hit the Lowcountry.

The nearly four-week closure of the westbound lanes of the Wando Bridge that followed included a heavy dose of frustration, anger, disappointment and of course politics.

Inspectors look inside the Wando Bridge (Source: SCDOT)
Inspectors look inside the Wando Bridge (Source: SCDOT)

SCDOT initially estimated the repair of a snapped cable inside the bridge at just 48 hours, but inspectors encountered water intrusion as well which then caused the extended closure. Lowcountry leaders immediately began meeting behind closed doors to try and find the best way to relieve traffic congestion.

While multiple ideas were on the table, the temporary solution was two-fold with a small nudge from South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. Crews paved across the median and the South Carolina Highway Patrol reversed a lane in the eastbound direction in what became known as the “crossover lane” on both sides of the bridge which was opened a few days after the initial lane closure on the bridge.

This SCDOT map shows the current detours in place around the closed westbound Wando Bridge. (Source: SCDOT)
This SCDOT map shows the current detours in place around the closed westbound Wando Bridge. (Source: SCDOT)

The second was to divide the lane from Mount Pleasant off the Ravenel Bridge to get to I-26 into two separate lanes with cones during peak hours.

Drivers would eventually get used to the detours and the bridge reopened in both directions in early June.

SCDOT released hundreds of pages in documents after the bridge reopened concerning past inspections which stated that duct tape was used in some areas to make fixes in the past.

Cars use the crossover lane near the Wando Bridge (Source: Live 5)
Cars use the crossover lane near the Wando Bridge (Source: Live 5)

The department said in January it has spent millions of dollars in repairs to the bridge since the closure. All of the 14 recommended maintenance projects are estimated to be complete by spring of 2020.

Copyright 2019 WCSC. All rights reserved.