South Carolina highway officials next week will close the only route across the Broad River for residents in the Lockhart region of Union County — creating a more than 40-minute detour for drivers heading eastbound from the town of roughly 500 people.
The state Department of Transportation (SCDOT) said inspectors had found damage on the SC Highway 9 bridge over the river on Monday that will require short-term repairs. SCDOT crews hope to finish the repairs within 30 days, particularly because local schools will begin on August 15. SC-9 is also a primary route for trucks and other traffic heading east of Spartanburg into rural sections of northern South Carolina.
SCDOT says the work is required to extend the life of the current structure and allow the bridge to remain in service until a new bridge can be built. SCDOT said it plans to begin taking contracts for a new bridge once the work is complete. A 35-mile detour will be in place utilizing SC 49, SC 211, and SC 105.
The average number of vehicles traveling on SC 9 in that area is 5,050 per day. Trucks make up 25% of the average vehicle traffic.
“We recognize that the SC 9 Bridge is a vital link to the community and is an important connection in the transportation network for the state,” Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall said in a statement. “This bridge is an example of the type of concerns that we have raised regarding the infrastructure crisis we are facing here in SC. A long-term, sustainable funding solution must be found in order to address the years of deferred maintenance on the existing road and bridge network for our state.”