Damaged Bridge on S.C. Hurricane Evacuation Route to Fully Reopen

A Beaufort County bridge severely damaged less then two months ago is scheduled to completely reopen this week.

Only one lane of the J.E. McTeer Bridge has been open for limited hours since the steel beams under the span were damaged by a crane towed by a barge on April 27.

With the 2007 Hurricane Season under way as of June 1, transportation officials said they fixed the bridge quickly because it is a vital evacuation route.

As recently as earlier this month, construction officials didn’t think the bridge would be fixed until the end of July. But replacing the bridges five steel support beams was done in less than half the projected 10-week period, said Robert Clark, Department of Transportation engineering administrator for Beaufort County.

The Department of Transportation will bill Savannah Marine Services for the cost of the repairs, which has not been calculated. The company owns the tug boat that pulled the barge crane that hit the bridge.

Both lanes of the bridge are set to open at 6 a.m. June 20, then close again 7 p.m. for utility work before hopefully staying open for good, Beaufort County Emergency Management Director William Winn said.

Thunderstorms are about the only thing that could slow things down, Winn said.

The McTeer Bridge is only one of two bridges that connect Lady’s Island with the rest of the state.