Neighbors dispute new bridge plans for Wando River

Valencia Wicker (WCIV)

by Stacy

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) - Marcia Rosenberg lived in a development right by the Wando River Bridge. She agreed with the S.C. Department of Transportation that it needed to replace it.

"When I'm crossing that bridge, which is several times a week, I fear when I see an 18 wheeler coming toward me because the lanes are so narrow," Rosenberg said.

"It's just out of date," DOT spokesman James Law said.

But the two didn't agree on everything.

"We'd like to keep no higher than 35 feet," Rosenberg said.

"Along with the Federal Bridge Administration and Coast Guard, we have made the decision that we are going to replace the Wando River Bridge with a 55-foot structure," Law said.

Rosenberg feared the environmental effects of a 55-foot bridge.

"The waterways are pristine. The wildlife is magnificent. Both stand to be harmed if a taller bridge is built, which will allow more boat traffic and more importantly, more development," she said.

Law{}said more than 3,000 vehicles, including trucks going to the Charleston port,{}drive across the Wando River Bridge every day.{}And he said the area is growing.{}

Law said the Coast Guard recommended the taller bridge, as the best way to handle the amount of traffic. But Rosenberg said she met with a Coast Guard official, who told her a 35-foot bridge was possible. But, he said it would take extra{}work; the DOT would have to commission more studies and do a new application.

"We're saying the easier way is not the best way. They need to submit an application for 35 feet, which will meet everyone needs and desires," Rosenberg said.

That left Rosenberg with unanswered questions.

"If no one wants the extra height and no one needs, how can anybody justify spending millions of dollars for the extra height?"

DOT officials said they're doing what's best for everyone, especially drivers.

But whether it's the easier way or the best way may not matter. Law said the DOT will start construction on the taller bridge by the end of 2013. He said it will cost about $40 million.