JEDBURG, S.C. (AP/WCIV) - Traffic is backed up for miles in both directions on Interstate 26 because of a road project that has turned into a fight against the weather.
A sinkhole opened between Charleston and the junction with Interstate 95 when rains started filling up holes created by crews working to repair the culverts on both sides of the interstate.
Transportation Department spokesman James Law says fast moving water washed out the soil beneath the drainage culvert under the highway at mile marker 192.5 near Jedburg Road.
He told ABC News 4 that drivers should expect about an hour delay over a five mile stretch in that area and that it has been slow going since work started to repair the culverts on Thursday.
The sinkhole is in the eastbound passing lane but there is also a large crane in the westbound passing lane as crews work to put in sheeting to block water from draining into the hole. A single lane of traffic is moving in each direction.
The sinkhole was first reported July 5 and repaired. The problem has worsened. The Associated Press reports the sinkhole is now about the width of an interstate lane and about 25 feet long.
Law told ABC News 4 he didn't know how big the sinkhole actually was and that crews would have to pull the asphalt back to check it. He said there is a steel plate covering it to keep water out.
He also said crews will be out late Friday to get the water-flow under control so they can pump it out on Saturday and figure out how deep the sinkhole really is.
Right-hand lane closures were scheduled for the eastbound and westbound sides of I-26 at mile marker 193 for road repairs. The work was supposed to only last from July 11 to July 15 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
The culverts are two concrete 10 x10 boxes under both sides of the interstate.