South Carolina Dept. of Transportation District 1 Commissioner Jim Rozier said there is no easy fix when it comes to replacing the collapsed bridge on Cypress Gardens Road.
“Whatever it is we do to replace this bridge we will do expeditiously,” Rozier said. “But even if we started tomorrow it will still be nine months to a year before a permanent replacement to the bridge can be completed.”
Until then the DOT will explore temporary solutions beyond the 26-mile round trip detour down Hwy. 52 to Redbank Road and back up Bushy Park Road for businesses like DuPont and Cypress Gardens.
“We have to find a quick but reliable solution for DuPont’s trucks,” Rozier said. “At four dollars a gallon for diesel fuel that 26-mile round trip detour will get expensive.”
In the aftermath of the April 28 train derailment that resulted in the collapse of the Cypress Gardens Road bridge, Rozier stressed the big importance was to get water restored to the Bushy Park plants that have been without water since the train collided with the bridge on Monday night.
“I was out there this morning (Tuesday, April 29) and there were two garden hoses of water still broken from the ruptured water main,” Rozier said.
He added that the bridge was originally built around 1938 and had been widened in the mid-1970s.
According to DOT records the bridge in question passed the latest inspection in Oct. 2013.
“There was no sign of any structural damage found during this most recent inspection,” Rozier said.
As for replacing the collapsed bridge, Rozier said finding a quick and temporary fix for the structure will require some creative thinking.
“We have a temporary bridge that is about to go out of service up in Aiken,” he said. “We can get that down here in the next week and elimiate that long detour.
“It will help while we rebuild this bridge.”
Another alternative Rozier suggested would be to build an over-the-track crossing to reroute traffic while construction of the new bridge could be completed.
“The key is to find a quick solution to a 26-mile detour so businesses can resume normal operations.”