The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) will close Interstate 26 between U.S. 1 and U.S. 378 on Saturday beginning at 10 p.m. The closure is expected to last 12 hours, ending on Sunday, April 2 at 10 a.m.
The closure is designed to expedite the removal of the Leaphart Road Bridge, which sustained significant structural damage on March 24. The bridge was struck by a truck hauling an illegal, oversized load. The accident marked the fourth time the bridge, which is crossed by an average of about 10,600 vehicles daily, had been structure this year, the Transportation Department said.
The Leaphart Road overpass has taken over a dozen known hits since 2015. SCDOT’s bridge inspectors inspected the bridge following the latest hit and it was decided at that time to permanently close to traffic. Additional inspections and review by SCDOT’s top bridge engineer recommended an accelerated removal of the damaged structure.
State Highway Engineer Leland Colvin said in a press release, SCDOT is implementing this aggressive approach to ensure the safety of the motoring public. Additional hits on this bridge could pose a threat to motorists on I-26, the release said.
“The closure time frame was selected because of lower overnight traffic volumes and to have minimal impact on traffic,” Colvin said.
A replacement bridge for Leaphart Road is currently under construction and scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. SCDOT officials said they and contractor, Crowder Construction, continue studying all options to expedite the completion of the new bridge.
SCDOT will advise motorists of the pending closure on its existing variable message signs, 511 traveler information system, and social media. They have coordinated with the State Transport Police for increased patrol of this section of interstate to identify illegal, oversized loads.
SCDOT engineers and signal crews will monitor the detour routes during the I-26 closure. Traffic signals and signing will be evaluated and staff stands ready to make adjustments. State Highway Emergency Program (SHEP) responders will patrol the detour routes throughout the night to offer assistance and minimize congestion.
Detailed travel directions for popular destinations are available at this link: http://www.scdot-transfer.org/scdotphotos/LeaphartBridgeI26Detour.pdf