Deficient bridge report doesn’t indicate danger according to SCD - FOX Carolina 21

Deficient bridge report doesn’t indicate danger according to SCDOT official

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When the American Road & Transportation Builders Association released its 2018 Deficient Bridge Report it included several bridges in the Upstate.

In Greenville County, they include I-85 over Laurel Creek near exit 48, a small bridge on US 29 over Enoree River and another on US 29 over Mountain Creek. In Spartanburg County, the bridge on SC 85 over S-42 made the list along with the freeway bridge on SC 85 over S-2 and the bridge on S-9 over SC 85.

But South Carolina DOT officials say none of them are unsafe.

The state bridge maintenance engineer says there are a lot of different reports that are issued by various groups and the term “deficient” isn’t as frightening as it may sound to the layperson.

“Bridges get a lot of attention and they should but there’s a lot of erroneous information out there or a lot of times it’s incomplete information,” says the South Carolina Department of Transportation bridge maintenance engineer, Mark Hunter.

He says the term “structurally deficient” can cover a variety of minor issues like cracks on a deck or riding surface. He says each of the state’s bridges is inspected at least once every two years and the structurally deficient bridges are inspected every year.

“We have well-trained experts that go through an exhaustive training process backed up by engineering to make sure the bridges are safe,” says Hunter, “If we see it’s unsafe we will close a bridge extremely fast.”

He adds, “We are responsible to the citizens of South Carolina. We all travel on the bridges.”

Of the state’s 8400 bridges, 315 are load restricted, meaning there’s a weight limit sign posted. The state’s ten year plan involves replacing or renovating all the load restricted bridges and hunter says the upgrade isn’t just about safety. He says it’s also about accommodating commerce for businesses in South Carolina.

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