South Carolina transportation officials say a loose tarp was not to blame for the collapse of a containment system on a North Charleston bridge two weeks ago which covered cars and shut down the interstate.
In a news release Tuesday, the state Department of Transportation (SCDOT) said it is still working to determine what led to the system’s failure July 19 on the Don Holt Bridge. However, the agency said it was not due to the roof tarp coming loose three days earlier.
“Early indications are the tarp was not a factor in the failure that occurred on Wednesday, July 19,” the release said.
The tarps were on the bridge to protect both workers and drivers while crews repainted the bridge. It was supposed to catch loose objects and paint chips, but came undone during a thunderstorm’s severe winds.
A Highway Patrol dispatcher notified SCDOT of the loose tarp on July 16. The release said the contractor fixed the tarp later that day. The system was then inspected and reinstalled two days later. But just one day later, the system collapsed amid a storm which brought winds measured at 60 miles per hour, the agency said.
The agency also said it was the tarp’s floor, not roof, which came loose and covered Interstate 526.
SCDOT says it continues to work with the contractor during its investigation and will release its findings once finished. Work has been suspended on the bridge ever since the incident.