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.
Ripple effects also included businesses that didn’t see nearly as much foot traffic and some children who were late to school.
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.
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.
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.