Midlands Bridge to Close for a Year

SCDOT officials say the project in Sumter County is 'necessary'

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By Monique Williams

Sumter County, S.C. (WOLO) -- South Carolina Department of Transportation officials say they plan to replace the bridge on South Lafayette Dr. (US 15) near Sumter in Sumter County. It's a project they say will take 16 months.

Beginning August 11, construction starts on the 50-year-old overpass that covers two side streets and a railroad track. The project is estimated to take 16 months; however, officials say it is necessary for the safety of the public.

"If you don't issues of the bridge you could have a catastrophe, failure, and we do not want that to occur," said DOT engineer Jeffrey Wilkes.

Wilkes says decades of wear and tear on the bridge on South Lafayette Drive, U.S. 15 in Sumter County, can no longer be ignored. Officials say inspections in recent years were happening too frequently and producing unfavorable results.

"When it gets to a certain criteria it's normally every two years, to one year, and depending on the critical need, it may be more often."

In less than a month, the 900-foot, heavily traveled overpass will totally be removed and a new bridge will be constructed on the same site. The duration of the project is estimated to be 64 weeks.

"We have two detour routes, one northbound and one southbound U.S. 15 to try and accommodate all the traffic," said Wilkes.

"If it has to be done it has to be done," said one motorist.

Provided there are no major delays, officials say traffic may resume on the brand new bridge in November 2015.

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