SC DOT: Bridges Won't Come Tumbling Down - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

SC DOT: Bridges Won't Come Tumbling Down

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Edgefield County, SC -

It's been a stormy summer so far with more than 10 inches of surplus rainfall already, and for local infrastructure, the record rainfall has been a lot to weather.  

"With this bridge right here, it washed out and scoured around the base of the piling and you can see here that it washed away," South Carolina Department of Transportation Edgefield County Engineer Clifton White explains about a closed bridge.

That bridge took a hard hit - DOT officials say the biggest dangers are trash, timbers, and railroad ties washing through waters and washing out pilings that support the bridge.  That's what happened there, and that's why the deck is cracked.

"They're built to withstand a lot, but we can't control nature," White says, "we can't control trees coming down the waterways."

They can't control mother nature, but they can control their response.

"We are proactive about it," South Carolina Department of Transportation District Manager Joanne Woodrum says.  "Bridges are important. school buses or something could go over it two weeks later and have a problem. A lot is riding over our bridges."

The one White showed us was clearly closed.

"If it's bad enough that it needs to be closed, it's going to be closed," he says of worries in the community about bad bridges.

That said, there are more than 8,000 bridges across South Carolina - with this kind of troubled water happening regularly in storm season, that's a lot to keep up with.

"We can't see every mile of road every minute and change can happen very quickly," Woodrum says.

The bridge we looked at was closed when a homeowner reported it.  DOT says those calls help you keep you safe, but they also have a team whose sole purpose is to regularly inspect bridges.  They also say that just because the area around a bridge looks bad, that doesn't mean it's going to come tumbling down.

"When you have sand or water washouts and you just see that sand, that doesn't mean there's a problem," White explains.

To report a bridge problem to the South Carolina Department of Transportation, click here.

A problem in Saluda County was reported by a viewer earlier; in that case, there was a steep embankment leading to water without a guardrail.  DOT says they have evaluated the situation and will be installing guardrails in that area.

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