BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) -- A new bridge will be built with a 55-foot clearance over the Wando River in Berkeley County, replacing the existing Highway 41 bridge.
The existing bridge is a swing span bridge built in 1939 and must now be opened manually for boat traffic.
"This bridge is both structurally deficient and functionally obsolete and is nearing the end of its useful life," DOT officials said in a release.
Residents fought against the height of the proposed bridge and DOT officials went back and looked at the vertical clearance requirements prior to beginning construction. SCDOT had been coordinating and consulting with the Federal Highway Administration, the United States Coast Guard and other stakeholders for nearly the last ten years developing the redesign.
DOT officials said more than 650 surveys were sent to property and business owners who use that area of the river, along with comments made during public meetings, and those results were given to the Coast Guard for review and to determine how tall the bridge needed to be.
After a thorough review, the USCG has determined that a 55' vertical clearance best meets the "reasonable needs of navigation" for the river.
SCDOT has directed its contractor, PCL Civil Constructors to proceed with design and construction of a 55' vertical clearance, fixed span structure.
According to the transportation he design-build contract with PCL is in the amount of $30.4 million. The bridge is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2016.
Traffic will continue as normal on the existing bridge while the new bridge is under construction, officials said.