GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – The McDaniel Avenue bridge over the Swamp Rabbit Trail and the Reedy River will close for construction in the near future.
“Over the holidays South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), came to our Public Works Department, and said that they had been doing routine inspections on the McDaniel Avenue Bridge over the Reedy River and Cleveland Park, and they discovered that some of the steel beams and the girders in the bridge were starting to corrode and that they were having concerns,” said Beth Brotherton, Director of Communications, City of Greenville. “And so, they put out an emergency procurement, which basically allows them to get the funding to fast track construction and repairs on that,” she said.
“Some slight deteriorating conditions on some of the structure, part of the structure,” said Pete Poore, Director of Communications for SCDOT. “The decision was made to reduce the load or the weight of vehicles that can travel on that bridge,” he said.
SCDOT lowered the weight limit to a three-ton maximum.
“One of the things that DOT has already put in place immediately, is a weight limit, three tons,” Brotherton said. “That means essentially, no vehicle larger than kind of a standard SUV is what they’re recommending at this point. So already, here at the city, our public works vehicles aren’t driving over the bridge. School buses aren’t driving over the bridge, fire trucks. So really this is a strong recommendation,” Brotherton said.
Now SCDOT is looking at beginning construction to fix the issues at the bridge.
“Once construction begins, McDaniel Avenue and that section, will be closed for at least three months,” Brotherton said. “We’ve created the detour already, understanding that because DOT is monitoring the situation regularly and it could close, without a lot of notice, we wanted to have that detour prepared in advance,” Brotherton said. “It will basically take people off of McDaniel on to Richland, on to Cleveland and then back again,” she said. “So, it’s a detour, but not a huge detour,” she said. “The detour is not lengthy enough that there are any emergency response concerns,” Brotherton said.
“I think it’s a good idea. I think for safety measures, so I think that new and better is always good,” said Lori Goldsmith, frequent walker.
“We’re new here and so we haven’t gotten used to the traffic patterns, but if it’s eroding and it’s a problem, I think it’s definitely worth getting it fixed. We don’t want any cars falling down,” said Karen Thompson, nearby resident.
Brotherton said when construction begins, the city will work on other projects.
“When SCDOT begins this construction project, there will be several impacts, including a sewer line for us here in the city of Greenville. So, we will need to do some improvements and relocation on that, which actually is a great incentive,” Brotherton said. “This sewer line serves a growing South downtown community, and so this is an opportunity for us to do some upgrades during this period of time,” she said. “The other issue is the Swamp Rabbit Trail underneath the bridge, will also be detoured during this time period,” she said.
Brotherton said they could potentially add some improvements to the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
“In the meantime, DOT is coming out regularly to ensure the safety of the bridge, to make sure they don’t need to close it sooner than construction, which is a possibility if they just decide damage is continuing to worse,” Brotherton said. “They might simply close it sooner than later. So, I don’t think people need to intimately worry that I can’t cross this bridge, it’s that dangerous, because SCDOT would not allow that to happen,” she said.
SCDOT said it’s in the process of completing design plans for this project.
“Now our bridge engineers are putting together a design plan to correct it and ultimately make it better, and that plan is getting close to completion,” Poore said. “They’re not quite there yet, and then the next step is to get a contractor, and we’re going to ask the contractor to get out there when possible,” Poore said. “The timeline is to have the bridge finish and reopen to all vehicles late Spring or early Summer.”