June 30
Bridges on I-77 in Chester County Reopened to Traffic

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 three-four weeks.