GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – A busy bridge over the Middle Tyger River on Highway 14 is closed until further notice.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), said the bridge is closing for repairs.

“This was an emergency closure. We were contacted by DOT about 10 minutes before they shut it down, to tell us that they were going to be closing the roadway,” said Chief Larry Jackson Jr. with the Gowensville Fire Department. “There was nothing going on that was showing concern to us. Apparently, talking with the people out of Columbia at DOT, they did a routine inspection. The routine inspection revealed to them some issues that required it to be shut down immediately for safety reasons.”

SCDOT said the bridge’s average daily traffic is 4,900 vehicles.

Scott Pittman said with the bridge being closed it’s concerning.

“We have a good many of clients out here. You know we travel it a lot, and it’s just that now we can’t. It makes it longer to get here. I mean just think, if someone had an emergency or something or needed to go to the hospital or something,” Pittman said.

SCDOT posted a detour for drivers. It’s approximately 12.5 miles long.

Highway 14 detour directions (From: SCDOT)

“So we are using a detour that is not the DOT specified detour route,” Jackson said. “We are using the one that allows us the quickest access to the other side of the bridge.”

“DOT has posted a detour route that is accessible,” Jackson said. “It is basically Highway 11 to North Glassy Mountain Road and turning on it, and taking it back out to Highway 414, which will bring them out on the other side.”

Pittman owns an air and heating company, and said this could impact his business.

“Oh yeah–time, fuel, everything. Even if we had employee time, I mean, it just takes a toll,” Pittman said.

Chief Jackson said this will not impact their services.

“This bridge is about a mile below our station going towards Greer. It basically cuts our district in half,” Jackson said.  “While it is a little bit of an inconvenience, it has not affected our fire service coverage.”

“We have an alternate route that we had already talked about in previous engagements, just due to traffic and other issues. And we have mutual aid contracts with Lake Cunningham Fire District that allow us to provide the services with no interruption,” he said. “I spoke with their Chief and anything we need over normal mutual aid services, we’re going to work together and make sure that the citizens get what they need.”

Chief Jackson is asking people to be patient.

“I really do truly believe that they’re trying their best to minimize the impacts this closure is going to cause on the community. All I ask is that people please use the posted detour route instead of trying to make your own,” Jackson said.

“The DOT does not want to shut the roadway down any more than we at the fire department or you at home want to see the roadway shut down,” said Jackson. “So, they’re doing the best they can to try to get it open as quickly as possible.”

Pete Poore, with SCDOT, said he doesn’t know how long the repairs will take to complete.

He said engineers are still working on the plan. This includes deciding if repairs can be made in-house, or if a contractor will be needed, and a budget estimate for the repairs.