The South Carolina Department of Transportation completed repairs to the US 701 bridge at the Horry-Georgetown county line last month, two full weeks ahead of schedule.
The bridge, originally built in 1953, was in need of help after SCDOT found the bridge's foundation was beginning to settle. In fact, the department estimated the bridge had already settled about 9 inches into the swamp it was built over, creating a dip for drivers. Previously, the department would use asphalt to level out the surface of the bridge in order to deal with the foundation settling. But SCDOT decided it had to get to work on repairing the bridge last fall, when it determined the condition of the bridge was "desperate." In fact, the bridge was identified by the department as the bridge in the worst condition throughout SCDOT's District 5.
SCDOT worked with on-site bridge inspector Florence Bridge Construction and Cape Roman Contractors to find a solution to the problem. SCDOT and its partners ultimately decided to install two helper/assist bents with concrete caps along with steel support beams to stabilize the bridge. While the $263,000 solution was a temporary one, it allows drivers to continue on their route safely.
The department also worked to keep drivers informed of the work being done to the bridge. District 5 worked with SCDOT's customer service center to provide detour information and maps to help drivers. SCDOT also worked with local media to get the word out on the project, while also keeping drivers informed through message boards. A majority of work was done at night to keep disruption to a minimum.
SCDOT completed the repairs to the bridge two weeks ahead of schedule, largely due to the close collaboration between the department and its contractor. Drivers traveling the popular US 701 route between the Georgetown and Conway areas were able to resume their easy commutes earlier than expected.