South Carolina transportation officials reopened a section of Interstate 95 just north of Manning on Tuesday morning, meaning that through traffic is now able to drive the entire interstate for the first time since record flooding hit the state on October 4.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) had reopened the southbound section of Interstate 95 a day earlier.
As the flooding became more severe, SCDOT initially closed I-95 to all traffic between Florence and the junction with Interstate 26 near Bowman. Most of that mileage was reopened to local traffic after a few days, but a 16-mile stretch between Manning and Sardinia remained closed to all vehicles.
Transportation Secretary Christy Hall said engineers had identified 33 “areas of concern” along that stretch of highway. Hall said contractors worked “daylight and dark” to get the interstate reopened and that freeing up I-95 had been her department’s top priority in the storm’s aftermath.
Officials said through traffic will no longer have to take a 60-mile detour along Interstate 26 to I-77 and Interstate 20 via Columbia.
Hall said the repairs are designed to be permanent. “We may come back at a later date and add some additional armoring to the repair,” she said. “But these repairs are intended to be permanent, safe and effective.”
In all, more than 300 roads and bridges across South Carolina remain closed due to storm damage. That number has been slowly, but steadily, declining from a high of 550 at one point last week.