Bridge closure increasing emergency response time in Cherokee County

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CHEROKEE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Deteriorating infrastructure is increasing emergency response time in Cherokee County.

The Goucher White Plains Fire Department has been working around road closures since Tuesday when the South Carolina Department of Transporation closed the Goucher Creek bridge.

“That’s a little weird to close it right after an inspection,” said Monique Davis.

Lisa Laughter works at the gas station across the street. She says the sudden closure caused quite a bit of confusion on Wednesday morning as drivers headed to work.

“This morning at 4 o’clock we had a lot of traffic going up and down the road,” Laughter said. “Actually [they were all] trying to turn on the road. I was like no you have to go down to [Highway] 221.”

During a routine inspection, DOT crews uncovered the foundation was decaying and deemed the bridge unsafe for use.

“I’m glad that they discovered that now before we have an incident,” said Fire Chief Jimmy Lamb.

Lamb says firefighters don’t respond to many emergency calls to that area. He says in the meantime they have mobilized a plan to avoid a longer response time.

“We have notified our neighboring agencies that may come in an assist us for other calls,” Lamb told 7News. “That they will need to take an alternate route as well. We have worked to add another couple of stations from the other direction, just in case it takes them a minute to get there.”

Lamb says the difference in response time may just be mere seconds, so he’s not too worried. He says his biggest concern is when the bridge will reopen.

DOT tells 7News it depends on the extent of the damage to the foundation.

“At this point, we don’t have a timeline for when that may be,” Lamb told 7News.

SCDOT is evaluating the bridge to decide if they will repair or replace it.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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