State transportation officials and CSX rail investigators are working to find out why a small bridge collapsed onto a passing train in Berkeley County Monday evening. But a spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) said it appears the train caused the bridge failure.
No injuries were reported when a part of the Cypress Gardens Road bridge located about 8 miles north of Goose Creek fell as the CSX train passed underneath. Five empty rail cars derailed off the tracks. Investigators have not publicly said whether the train caused the bridge to fall, but SCDOT spokesman Pete Poore said the evidence appears to show the train struck the 78-year-old bridge.
“Early indications from our people who were there on-site are that the derailment caused the collapse,” Poore told South Carolina Radio Network.
The bridge collapse also broke a 12- or 14-inch water main, leaving residents in the Cypress Gardens Road-Pimlico area without water.
Poore said the bridge dates back to 1936 but was reconstructed in 1975. He said it was last inspected in October of last year and was found to be in good shape.
CSX has removed the derailed train from the tracks, SCDOT said. The bridge, meanwhile, has been declared a total loss. While the site is being dealt with, motorists will have to deal with a 22-mile detour around the site until the bridge can be repaired.
No timetable has been set for replacing the structure.
Sheree Bernardi contributed to this report