Bridge replacements completed one month ahead of schedule
The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) completed operations early in the
morning of June 30, 2010 to open the new northbound and southbound
bridges on I-77 at Exit 62 in Chester County. Cracks were discovered in
some of the steel girders on both bridges during a routine inspection on
April 29, 2010.
The structures were closed to traffic on June 7 after Transportation
Secretary H.B. Limehouse Jr. issued the order for an emergency contract
to replace both bridges entirely to minimize future repair costs and
inconvenience to the public. “SCDOT would like to thank the Federal
Highway Administration (FHWA) for their cooperation in expediting this
emergency project. The project could not have been done so quickly
without FHWA’s help in securing permits and streamlining other processes
to get this job started,” said Limehouse.
SCDOT’s District Engineering Administrator Stan Bland based in Chester was put in charge of the project. On
June 7 he immediately put SCDOT’s Maintenance forces to work preparing
the interchange. “Our people handled the closings of SC 56 (which passes
under the two bridges) and the two interstate bridges, “said Bland.
SCDOT Maintenance workers performed the clearing and the base work for
the temporary lanes that were added to the exit and entrance ramps to
keep traffic moving through the bridge detour. They also installed the traffic signs to help drivers through the detours.
“We basically handled all the preliminary work ourselves so that when
the contractor came on site their crews only had to focus on the
bridgework. I have never seen any project of this size move so quickly
and smoothly in my forty years at SCDOT,” Bland added
Both bridges were completely replaced exactly two months after the
cracks were discovered on April 29. Crews will continue to work on the
Exit 62 ramps and the portion of SC 56 beneath I-77 for the next