The South Carolina Department of Transportation had three representatives at Conway’s city council meeting on Monday night.
They gave an update on the Main Street bridge in Conway, and said that it is still set to open back up to traffic near Memorial Day. They also discussed why so much time has been taken to build it back up.
They also apologized for not showing at the last city council meeting in February to give the bridge update.
“I do apologize, I think there was some miscommunication and some issues at the last meeting,” said Kyle Berry, one of the SCDOT representatives at the meeting. “However, I will say, the department is transparent, we’re not trying to hide anything. Our goal at this time and has always been to provide a safe bridge structure.”
They say the structural issues found after scraping the paint off of the bridge were what hindered the project.
SCDOT also says that they haven’t had 24 hour construction until this week because workers wear respirators, and that would’ve been dangerous at night.
“It’s almost impossible to go in and do that work at night,” said Berry. “You can use artificial lighting, but when we got in there and started to determine the amount of areas that needed to be cleaned, so that we could get initial inspection.”
A team of welders will start that 24 hour construction this week and a subcontractor will follow up next week.
“We have a team of welders who specialize in steel repairs, who actually arrived on site this weekend. They actually started off-loading equipment, and actually, for lack of a better term, they’re going to create a blacksmith shop underneath the bridge,” said Berry.
Berry says open communication is important to the department and they will continue to give updates on the bridge to the legislature and Mayor Bellamy.
“We want to make sure that accurate information is being transmitted to the public and everybody is on the same page,” he said.
Also at tonight’s city council meeting, councilmember Ashley Smith publicly apologized to SCDOT and engineer Anna Barnhill for his stance on their lack of attendance to the last council meeting.
He says it was just important to him for Conway to have the new information pertaining to the bridge.