The drive home tonight is a lot smoother for folks in Beaufort. After three years of construction, contractors have opened up a portion of the new Broad River Bridge. "It's tremendous, tremendous, we've all been waiting for this day," said Mark Gershey with Balfour Beatty Construction.
Originally, the project was supposed to be complete in late October of last year, but contractors say weather problems and night work delayed their progress. But now that it's opened, most drivers say they're just glad the construction is coming to an end.
"It was exciting to have a wide bridge, because we've always had that narrow bridge," said driver Janis Abernathy.
"I'm excited. I think it's going to help with traffic and congestion problems," added Birdie Dixon.
The construction of the Broad River Bridge is all part of the $105 million Highway 170 widening project, which includes widening a 12.5 mile stretch of the highway from two lanes to four, along with replacing bridges over the Broad River and Chechessee River.
Contractors are hoping to open all four of the bridge's lanes in the near future. But in the meantime, they have big plans for the old bridge. "We should be starting demolition on the old bridge on Wednesday and we'll be taking that bridge down and I believe we'll leave 1,400 feet for a fishing pier," said Gershey.
Contractors are still working on the road construction and are hoping to complete the entire project by this summer.