One Bridge Coming Down, Will Others Follow? -

One Bridge Coming Down, Will Others Follow?

By Gordon Dill

Barely 100 feet from the bridge that connects his home to a busy highway, Clarence Haymon is annoyed.

"I feel cut off. It's the inconvenience and I have to drive extra miles down the road," Haymon said.

He's annoyed because the South Carolina Department of Transportation closed that bridge about a year ago and soon will tear it down.

Haymon is separated from the main road by train tracks and a detour.

"It's almost like they don't care what the people think," Haymon said.

Less than a half mile away, at the Clearmont Baptist Church, the pastor is also annoyed.

"Our community has been divided and we're really concerned about the future and how that's going to affect our church and how it's going to affect our ability to do ministry," said Pastor Scott Lee.

Clearly, the bridge is in bad shape.  It's old, can't support heavy trucks and there's room for just one car at a time.

But people in Westminster, like Lee, feel the bridge might have been saved it SC DOT had put more effort into it.

"Very little money has been put into that bridge to maintain it over the years and other bridges across the state are in the same condition," Lee said.

7 On Your Side took that concern to Brandon Wilson, a bridge maintenance engineer at SC DOT asking, "What do you say to that pastor?"

"Sir, you know I sympathize with you, I really do.  The bridge is just unsafe and the repair is not a good fit for the community in our opinion," Wilson said.

But, while that Westminster bridge is in especially bad shape, hundreds of other South Carolina bridges are in bad shape too.

They're called "structurally deficient".

"What we'll see is more bridges that need to be repaired," Wilson said.


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