SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Spartanburg County drivers have been detoured past a portion of SC-417 since March. The South Carolina Department of Transportation said it is in an effort to repair one of its bridges.

Along highway 417 between Lightwood Knot Road and Harmon Road, there are flashing lights and road closed signs that stop drivers from traveling over the bridge. Months after the initial closure, the construction on the bridge still has not begun.

7NEWS spoke with drivers and asked how often they travel on the road. Many people told us it’s a part of their routine commutes.

“Every day. Every day of my life,” said Spartanburg County resident, Terri Gail Vaughn.

According to SCDOT, inspectors deemed the bridge unsafe for travel.

“The inspectors, the divers, found that the pilings that go down into the water, that support the bridge, they are made out of steel. It’s not unusual for them to rust a little bit, however about half of the pilings were starting to have little pieces flake off,” said Pete Poore, SCDOT Communications Director.

The department of transportation said the bridge was built in 1975. At that time, Vaughn was 25 years old. Years later, her daily commute takes a bit longer.

“My daughter lives… it just takes me five minutes to go across the bridge to go to her house and now I have to go all the way around to Old Spartanburg Highway and go to her house,” said Vaughn. “That’s another 30 minutes out of the way.”

Meanwhile, for other Spartanburg County residents, like Tyrone Jackson, said the bridge construction is located near the driveway of his church. He told 7NEWS, that while the road-closed signs are diverting traffic on the road, it’s also altering how many people he sees on Sundays.

“It impacted us a whole lot, especially with people coming to church on Sundays. They have to take a longer route around,” said Jackson. “Because of the signs right here, it says ‘do not enter,’ people are afraid to come down.”

With a detour in effect, drivers said they are feeling much more than a longer, inconvenient commute. It’s having an economic impact on them as well.

“With the price of gas, it’s hurting my pocket,” said Jackson.

“It’s two times as much gas. And gas is expensive,” said Vaughn with a laugh.

The road closure has been in effect since March and SCDOT said it will remain closed until construction plans are finalized.

“We have to identify the best available contractor and work through that. So, that’s the process that we are going through right now,” said Poore.

According to the state’s department of transportation, they are close to finalizing the details of the project with a contractor. Once that is complete, we’re told a timeline for the project will be released.

As for right now, the bridge will remain closed with no set reopening date.

The SCDOT is urging drivers to obey the road closure signs and not use the bridge.

HWY 417 bridge detour map (Courtesy: SCDOT)

According to the SCDOT, the approximate detour length is 16.89 miles.

Detour Route for Traffic Southbound Highway 417: Motorists traveling southbound on Highway 417 will be directed to take Highway 290 (SC-290) westbound to Highway 296 (SC-296) westbound. Motorists will then be detoured to Highway 101 (SC-101) southbound back to Highway 417 (SC-417).

Detour Route for Traffic Northbound Highway 417: Motorists traveling northbound on Highway 417 (SC-417) will be directed to take Highway 101 (SC-101) northbound to Highway 296 (SC-296) eastbound. Motorists will then be detoured to take Highway 290 (SC-290) eastbound back to Highway 417 (SC-417).