June 15
SCDOT to Complete Repairs on the McTeer Bridge Early

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) announced today that the repairs being made to the J.E. McTeer Bridge on U.S. 21 in Beaufort will be substantially complete approximately five weeks ahead of the projected date of July 31.


SCDOT is planning to make the bridge available for traffic on or around June 19, well before the Fourth of July holiday and the opening of the Beaufort Water Festival. Following the reopening, some night-time lane closures may be required to complete the repair work.


SCDOT Executive Director H.B. “Buck” Limehouse, Jr. cited the quick response to this emergency by the SCDOT staff, and the hurricane season as two factors that led to the accelerated repairs. “Our staff both at Headquarters in Columbia, and our field offices in the Lowcountry reacted immediately to assess this situation, and to move on an emergency contract to get the work started,” said Limehouse. “SCDOT’s staff recognized that the McTeer Bridge is an important transportation link between Beaufort and the Sea Islands on a day-to-day basis, but it also serves as a vital connection in hurricane evacuation, and we were on the brink of the hurricane season,” Limehouse added.


The McTeer Bridge was struck by a barge carrying a crane on April 26. The damage required replacement of all five beams in the bridge deck. However, SCDOT bridge inspectors determined that one lane of the structure could be safely used during peak traffic periods.


SCDOT worked with officials from Beaufort County, the City of Beaufort and the Town of Port Royal to reduce congestion as much as possible. Those efforts included the installation of traffic cameras at key points to allow the public to view the traffic situation in real time on the internet. In addition, SCDOT made provisions for EMS units to use the bridge at any time to respond to emergencies.


Director Limehouse said this repair project was also motivated by SCDOT’s commitment to the public. “It’s our job to provide a safe highway system for the people of South Carolina, and it’s doubly important for us to respond as quickly as possible when bridges or highways are damaged, and traffic is disrupted,” said Limehouse. He added, “We realize that lives depend on SCDOT getting these bridges and highways back in service, and we don’t take that responsibility lightly.”


Governor Mark Sanford was involved early on, communicating often with Director Limehouse and staying informed on the work schedule and progress.


The repair work is being done primarily by United Contractors, Inc. This construction firm is a South Carolina business, headquartered in Great Falls. United has successfully handled a number of emergency repair contracts for SCDOT in recent years


The Executive Director of SCDOT is H.B. Limehouse, Jr. The Commission includes Chairman Tee Hooper of Greenville; Joe Young, 1st Congressional District; Henry Taylor, 2nd Congressional District; Marion P. Carnell, 3rd Congressional District; F. Hugh Atkins, 4th Congressional District; Bobby T. Jones, 5th Congressional District; and Marvin Stevenson, 6th Congressional District.