As of Monday night, Conway’s Main Street bridge is still set to open around Memorial Day. SCDOT responded to council’s concerns Monday night on bridge collapse and falling steel or concrete as boating season rolls around.
“I’ve been consistently concerned about whether or not maintenance was timely and whether or not maintenance was sufficient,” said Conway Mayor Barbara Bellamy.
SCDOT gave Conway city council more extensive details on the Main Street bridge project Monday night, but council members had concerns beyond the details.
Mayor Bellamy says structural engineers told her some concerning information about the bridge when she worked for the city in 2004.
“Given the right environmental circumstances, wind blowing the right way, right temperature, or wrong wind, temperature, weight on the bridge, that those cracks could’ve moved exponentially, and in a matter of minutes, we could’ve had a collapse,” she said.
SCDOT representative Travis Patrick says he wasn’t aware of the cracks.
Council member Ashley Smith asked if it would’ve been more appropriate to work on the project in sections.
“Because of the size of this bridge, it was, you had to close the whole thing,” Patrick responded. “You didn’t have enough room to shift traffic around.”
With boating season coming up, there were concerns about the part of the bridge over the Waccamaw River.
“What happens over the water? Because it’s boat traffic time,” said council member Jean Timbes. “If anything, is there any danger of something falling into the water?”
Patrick says DOT has taken care of those concerns, using a type of solid scaffolding and taking safety measures.
“They are concerned about stuff falling off the edges, so they put up safety rails on the edges of the scaffolding,” Patrick said.
Patrick also says each steel plate has to be custom made to fit, which was given as another reason the project could’ve taken longer than expected.