to accelerate the removal of the severely damaged Leaphart Road Bridge
The South Carolina Department of Transportation
(SCDOT) will close Interstate 26 between US 1 and US 378 on Saturday, April 1,
2017 beginning at 10 p.m. The closure is
expected to last 12 hours, ending on Sunday, April 2 at 10 a.m.
The closure is designed to expedite the removal of
the Leaphart Road Bridge. This bridge
suffered significant structural damage on Friday, March 24th. The
bridge was struck by a truck hauling an illegal, oversized load. This hit is the fourth one sustained by the
structure in 2017. Further the Leaphart Road overpass has taken over a dozen
known hits since 2015. SCDOT’s bridge inspectors reviewed the bridge
immediately following the latest hit on March 24. The decision was made at that
time to permanently close to traffic.
Additional inspections and review by SCDOT’s top bridge engineer
recommended an accelerated removal of the damaged structure.
State Highway Engineer Leland Colvin said, “SCDOT is
implementing this aggressive approach to ensure the safety of the motoring
public. Additional hits on this bridge
could pose a threat to motorists on I-26.”
Colvin added, “The closure time frame was selected because
of lower overnight traffic volumes and to have minimal impact on traffic.” SCDOT will advise motorists of the pending
closure on its existing variable message signs, 511 traveler information system,
and social media.
SCDOT has coordinated with the State Transport
Police for increased patrol of this section of interstate to identify illegal,
Motorists seeking additional information or guidance
during the closure can call SCDOT’s Customer Service Center which will be
staffed from 9 p.m. on Saturday until 12 noon on Sunday. The Customer Service
Center may be reached toll free at 855-GO-SCDOT
(855-467-2368) The local number in Columbia is 803-737-2314.
SCDOT engineers and signal crews will monitor the
detour routes during the I-26 closure.
Traffic signals and signing will be evaluated and staff stands ready to
make adjustments. In addition, State
Highway Emergency Program (SHEP) responders will patrol the detour routes throughout
the night to offer assistance and minimize congestion.
Motorists traveling between the Upstate to the Lowcountry
on I-26 will use I-77 and I-20 to travel around Columbia. This detour will add approximately 10 miles
and 20 minutes to typical travel times.
Westbound motorists traveling from Charleston will
be able to access the interchanges at US 321/US21 (Exit 115), SC 302(Exit 113),
and US 1 (Exit 111). All westbound
traffic will exit I-26 at US 1.
Eastbound vehicles moving from the Upstate towards
the Lowcountry will be able to access I-126 (Exit 108) and US 378 (Exit
110). All eastbound traffic will exit
I-26 at US 378.
travel directions for popular destinations are available at this link:
A replacement bridge for Leaphart Road is currently
under construction and scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. SCDOT and our contractor, Crowder Construction,
continue studying all options to expedite the completion of the new bridge.
SCDOT apologizes for this inconvenience. Ensuring the safety of the motoring public
remains our top priority. Removing the
damaged Leaphart Road bridge in a 12-hour period is the safest path forward.
Motorists are advised to consider alternate routes
and to expect traffic congestion during this emergency closure. SCDOT urges
motorists to use caution when traveling. Traffic conditions are available at
SCDOT’s 511 traveler information system: http://www.511sc.org/
Photos of the
Leaphart Road Bridge crossing I-26 in Lexington County are available at this