CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — Community members that own businesses next to the Highway 501 overpass bridge that has a crack in it are concerned about the physical condition of the bridge.

News13 published a story earlier this week showing a large crack underneath the bridge, but the South Carolina Department of Transportation said the bridge was structurally sound.

Damon Powell is the owner of Credit Barbershop in Conway. The shop sits directly next to the bridge.

“I had a customer a while back, a piece of brick [from the bridge] fell on his car,” Powell said.

SCDOT said the bridge was most recently inspected in August 2022. There are steel elements supporting the structure inside the concrete, and those steel beams and reinforcing structures are safe and functioning properly.

Horry County Councilmen Tom Anderson, of District 7, voiced his concerns over the bridge’s condition.

“The 501 overpass bridge concerns me but we have been reassured from SCDOT that it is in good condition,” Anderson said. We have two older bridges, to get to over the Waccamaw [river] and I think we desperately need another one.”

Horry County Council passed a resolution on Tuesday for the proposed Lake Busbee bypass. It would be a further extension of the Conway perimeter road project and provide a direct connection between Highways 701 and 544, which the council said will allow for a better flow of traffic and provide an additional hurricane evacuation route.

“The bridge is not just about convenience. A majority of it is safety,” Anderson said. “Eventually, we’re going to have to redo the bridge on Main Street. And the 501 bridge [closes down], Horry County will be closed down. We need to start now to get across the Waccamaw River.”

Other residents who talked to News13 said they are afraid to park under the bridge or to drive over it.

News13 requested the August 2022 inspection report from SCDOT but has not heard back.

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