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September 21
SCDOT and Park Service agree to collaborate on US 601 Bridge Replacements over the Congaree River and Swamp

Staff from the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) and the National Park Service held a coordination meeting Monday, Sept. 21, to discuss possible visitor parking areas adjacent to the US 601 bridge replacement project at the Congaree National Park.

               SCDOT agreed to assist the National Park Service in seeking non-highway funding sources, such as the Federal Lands Program, to construct the parking areas. SCDOT will also provide design review assistance of the Park Service’s proposed parking facilities along the US 601 corridor.

               The Park Service will be responsible for obtaining any necessary approvals and coordinating public involvement specifically associated with the development of the proposed parking areas. 

               Once the National Park Service is successful in obtaining the necessary plans and funding to construct the parking areas, SCDOT noted that ample opportunity should be available to construct those improvements in conjunction with the US 601 bridge replacement which will require two-and-a-half years to complete.

               SCDOT is finalizing its preparations for construction of this bridge replacement project.  Since 2005, numerous meetings have taken place and significant correspondence has occurred with various resources agencies including US Fish and Wildlife, SC Department of Natural Resources, SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, and the National Park Service. 

               The project as proposed provides an environmentally responsible and cost effective solution for the replacement of the existing bridges, which are rated structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. 

              SCDOT is concerned about the approximate 70-mile detour required for the surrounding community and commercial interests if the bridges are load restricted or closed due to continuing deterioration.  SCDOT has indicated a need to advance the project now to avoid this potential hardship during the two-and-half year construction period. The existing bridges will still need to be in service during that time.

               Once final approval is provided by the Federal Highway Administration and Army Corps of Engineers, SCDOT expects to advance the project to construction this fall.