Aging Ashley River Bridges to be repaired following malfunctions

Aging Ashley River Bridges being repaired following malfunctions; traffic delays
Published: Oct. 21, 2014 at 11:24 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 22, 2014 at 10:33 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Recent malfunctions have caused huge headaches for drivers trying to go between downtown Charleston and West Ashley.

A spokesperson with the South Carolina Department of Transportation says the electrical systems on the two Ashley River Bridges have been malfunctioning.

The electrical systems are used to raise and lower the huge steel plates.

Crews with the SCDOT have been working in very small spaces cutting and replacing cables. They're aiming for fewer malfunctions that have caused traffic delays.

A spokesperson with the SCDOT says they're trying to reduce these delays by upgrading the controls that operate the bridges.

The bridges have made it through some of the toughest weather here in Charleston, including the major ice storm earlier this year. The bridge leading into West Ashley was built nearly 90 years ago, and the other has been around since the 1960's.

The steel plates will be raised and lowered as crews do their work. Some drivers will be affected more than others.

Tim Sleeper says he travels the bridges five times a week. He's also been caught in traffic when they malfunction.

An external upgrade will also be done in November when crews start repainting both bridges. Officials with the SCDOT say they aren't expecting having to open the bridges for that work to be done.

According to SCIWay, there are nine moveable bridges in the state, and five of those are in the Tri-County.

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