It took crews only two nights to demolish the Four Holes Road bridge over Interstate 26 after it was damaged by a tractor-trailer. Replacing it is going to take longer.
"The plan now is to figure out what avenue we are going to go to get that bridge replaced," S.C. Department of Transportation District 7 Construction Engineer Jim Porth said.
"The bridge was not on the replacement list and there is not a preliminary design on the shelf to that effect,” he said.
Four Holes Road serves as a connector between U.S. Highway 176 and U.S. Highway 301. The road has a traffic count of about 450 cars a day.
The bridge was damaged Friday morning after a tractor-trailer struck a piling, causing it to buckle. The driver of the tractor-trailer died at the scene.
Traffic along Interstate 26 was detoured following the crash. Demolition crews removed the bridge over the weekend and traffic began flowing smoothly Sunday morning.
Porth says residents who live on Four Holes Road still have access to their properties.
"No one has been cut off from their homes as a result of this bridge closure, but I am certain that this creates an inconvenience for many who live and work in the community," Porth said. "Folks who are affected by this bridge being out will have to drive a little farther to get around in the Four Holes Community."
"It is not an extreme amount, but it is a measurable amount that needs to be considered," he said.
A permanent detour will be in place for traffic in the near future.
Porth says it will likely be months before any work is done to replace the bridge.
"We should allow them some time to review their options and to project costs before we try to put an exact cost estimate or timeline on this project at this time," Porth said.
Because the bridge runs over an interstate, the Federal Highway Administration will help SCDOT fund and rebuild the bridge.
Porth is pretty confident that the new bridge, unlike the former, will only have a single column in the middle in the median to account for the possibility that I-26 could be widened in the future.
Porth says SCDOT crews who worked on the bridge were taking a much-needed break after a busy weekend.
"We had our hands full to get the old bridge torn down and out of there," he said.