Work on a damaged bridge in Pickens County, which has resulted in a nearly 9-mile detour, will hopefully begin in December, according to the state Department of Transportation.
Officials said three pilings of the 18 Mile Road bridge that spans 18 Mile Creek near Highway 123 buckled, causing the roadway to sink about a foot. They said the damage was noticed Sunday night. The bridge was closed to traffic early Monday morning.
State Transportation Secretary Robert St. Onge Jr. authorized his department Friday to begin accepting bids on repairing the bridge.
Officials said they expect to meeting with contractors next week to review the scope of the work and that bids could be accepted by Thanksgiving. They said if there are no problems with the environmental permitting process, work could begin as early as December.
In the meantime, drivers will have to use the 8.6-mile detour set up by transportation officials. Drivers will need to take 18 Mile Road to Highway 88 south to Central Road, then take Central Road until it intersects with Road 39-30. Drivers will then take Road 39-30 back to Highway 123.
Engineers are in the process of identifying similarly designed bridges so they can be inspected for the same defects that caused the Pickens County bridge to fail, transportation officials said.
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