$3 million contract awarded to rebuild bridge hit by train

BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) -- A Wando company has been awarded a $3 million contract to rebuild the bridge destroyed by a train.

According to the South Carolina Department of Transportation, Cape Romain Contractors, Inc. of Wando, was awarded the emergency contract to replace the Cypress Gardens Bridge Road.

The bridge collapsed after being hit by a train in April.

DOT officials said the contract with Cape Romain calls for a "no excuses" completion date of Oct. 25. Work will begin next week, officials said.

There are also incentives to get the project completed ahead of schedule, DOT officials added.

"I am very proud of how our staff, both in the District Office and SCDOT's Headquarters responded to this emergency situation. The safety issues were taken care of within hours of the incident and the processes to secure an emergency contract to replace the bridge were underway early the next day," said Secretary of Transportation Janet P. Oakley.

The Secretary also praised the Federal Highway Administration for its major role in the emergency response process.

"FHWA SC Administrator Bob Lee and his team not only worked with our staff to secure approval for 100 percent federal funding for this emergency contract, they took the extra steps to provide emergency 'cash-upfront' so that we could begin acquiring the outside services we needed to get this project moving as fast as possible," Oakley said.

Currently, residents of Berkeley County are making a 22-mile detour around the collapsed bridge. For the first 24 hours after the accident, water service had been cut off too, because a water main had been broken.

County Supervisor Dan Davis said he had hoped the state agency would expedite the process for the residents.

"It has been my hope all along that SCDOT would be expeditious in addressing this problem which has caused much hardship for many of our citizens and industries. As County Supervisor, I will do everything within my powers to stay involved and keep our citizens informed as work progresses. I feel everyone has been inconvenienced enough by this unfortunate situation," he said.

"I'm delighted that SCDOT has reached the point of awarding a contract so quickly. The fact that a contract to replace an entire bridge has been ironed out in just over a month is amazing. What further delights me is that we are taking the quickest path to get the bridge back in service for the people and businesses in Berkeley County," said SCDOT Commissioner Jim Rozier.

The DOT says the bridge has an average daily traffic count of 6,200 vehicles, 5 percent of which is trucks.

The bridge had last been inspected in October 2013 and found to be in fair condition. It was not on a list of the state's structurally deficient bridges.