South Carolina ports officials believe they have solved gate problems that caused massive truck traffic jams in Mount Pleasant most of last week.
Department of Transportation (SCDOT) traffic cameras show things are moving smoothly along Interstate 526 near the Long Point Road exit Monday, one week after traffic jams involving hundreds of trucks waiting to enter the Wando Welch Terminal. Ports Authority CEO Jim Newsome apologized over the weekend for the delays, but believes the problems are now behind them.
“I’m sorry for the businesses here along Long Point Road, for the residents here, and for the truckers,” he told news outlets on Friday. “But I’m convinced we’ll get it right.”
Ports Authority officials say production has increased after a backload was cleared over the weekend. A spokesman said the delays last week were due to glitches with the new hardware, employees not familiar with the technology, and truckers unsure what was expected of them.
“We are feeling much more optimistic and confident that the technology is becoming much more stable and is doing what it needs to do to facilitate the efficiency of the port,” spokesman Clint Eisenhauer told South Carolina Radio Network.
He also credited Mt. Pleasant Police and SCDOT officials with improving traffic flow outside the terminal’s entrance. Officers on Thursday limited the number of trucks that could drive along Long Point Road at one time to ease the congestion. SCDOT crews also set up electronic signs to alert truck drivers of what to expect when they arrive at the gate, particularly the codes they would need.
The port was open most of Sunday morning — normally a time when it is closed — to help reduce the backlog. It will also be open later than normal on Monday night.
Wando Welch is the Port of Charleston’s busiest terminal in terms of truck traffic and number of containers. Eisenhauer said there are still plans to eventually roll out the new gate check system at the North Charleston terminal later this year.