Bridge Closing is Causing Major Delays

Bridge closing is causing traffic headaches
Bridge closing is causing traffic headaches

If you live in South Carolina, on or near Lady's Island, expect to be waiting in even more traffic for the next three months.

Thursday night a barge with a boom crane struck the bridge's support beams and will take weeks to repair. As of today there will be no more one lane access of the McTeer Bridge at select times. After more testing, it was found more damage was done to the bridge and now it is completely closed down.

Day in and day out thousands of people depend on the J.E. McTeer Bridge, the link between Port Royal and Lady's Island, to get where they need to go.

"Easy access and easy time frame to get to and from locations on the other side," said Lady's Island resident Nancy Kessel.

But as of Friday, that dependable bridge got shut down because a barge with a boom crane struck the bridge's support beam and it could take several months before the bridge is up and running again, proving to some nearby residents that you never know what you have until it's gone.

"We take it for granted, I just went to my friends and that took 25 minutes and it would normally take seven minutes," said Port Royal resident Shana Hirsch.

With the McTeer Bridge being shut down, a lot of people have been using the Woods Memorial Bridge as an alternate route, but some still find that as a hassle.

"There's already backups and it's a Sunday, so that's not good for when it's a workday," said Hirsch.

Unfortunately, it's now their only option. The Department of Transportation was going to allow limited traffic over the McTeer Bridge, but now they don't want to risk people driving on it.

"And the Woods Bridge as you can see behind me has been sitting still for half an hour," said Kessel.

And for at least the next three months, those who live in the area can expect to see more of the same.

Because of traffic restrictions, Beaufort County school officials have adjusted several bus routes starting Monday. The changes will affect mostly high school and middle school students.

Eight school buses that normally are parked at Lady's Island to begin their routes will be moved Sunday to Beaufort Middle School. These buses, routes 65, 66, 67 and 70 serving Beaufort High and routes 58, 61, 63 and 71 serving Beaufort Middle, are expected to arrive at school later than usual. Depending on traffic conditions, the buses may arrive at bus stops slightly later than usual. Students should be prepared for delays.

Similarly, a Title 1 elementary bus route, #67, carries students from Lady's Island to Mossy Oaks Elementary and Beaufort Elementary schools. This bus will likely arrive to school late.

Two buses carrying special education students, routes #43 and 44, from St. Helena Island and Lady's Island probably will arrive late at the following schools: Route 43 to Beaufort Elementary, Shell Point Elementary, Broad River Elementary and Port Royal Elementary, Route 44 to Beaufort Middle, Robert Smalls Middle and Battery Creek High. About 15 students ride these buses.

Drivers aboard these buses will use radios to keep their First Student dispatcher and principals informed of traffic conditions and expected arrival times.

Saturday evening and Sunday morning, school district staff and First Student management worked to review bus routes, student locations and traffic flows. Further adjustments are possible based on traffic flow, law enforcement and Department of Transportation recommendations.

Reported by: David Hall,