Beaufort County bridge replacement plans discussed - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Beaufort County bridge replacement plans discussed

BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) -

Plans are in place to replace a 76-year-old bridge in Beaufort County.

The bridge, Sea Island Parkway, which connects St. Helena Island and Harbor Island was built in 1939. Engineers said is has structural flaws, and they met with residents in Beaufort County Tuesday to discuss the bridge replacement project.

Many of the people who travel that bridge on a daily basis attended Tuesday’s meeting because they wanted to get a better understanding of the project and how it was going to affect their commutes.

They were also curious about the width of the bridge. Right now, the bridge between the islands is very narrow. The proposed bridge will address that problem. It will have two lanes, with two additional emergency lanes on each side. Engineers said the extra lanes could also be used for biking or pedestrian traffic.

That's just one of the many issues the new bridge will address. The program manager said it’s important for them to know what problems residents think should be addressed before they finalize their designs.

“What sort of issues are you having with your daily travels across the bridge? What kinds of concerns do they have about the bridge and the project? We’ll take those back, and we’ll consider those during our environmental studies,” said Tyke Redfearen, South Carolina Department of Transportation Program Manager. “The natural environment is very important here. We have a local shrimping company that’s nearby and they have to use that waterway daily to do their jobs. The structure of the bridge is going to be an interesting concept and the soils here in the coastal plains are very volatile and you have to take care of that and your foundation and that’s another interesting part.”

The budget for the bridge is around $56 million. Now, engineers are conducting environmental studies for the project, and they expect to begin construction on the new bridge in 2018. 

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