Rocky Creek bridge to be replaced

The South Carolina Department of Transportation will seek public feedback on a proposed plan to replace the bridge on S.C. Highway 97 over Rocky Creek.

A public forum will be held June 21 from 5 until 7 p.m. at the Great Falls War Memorial Building. The meeting will have a “drop-in” format with project displays available for viewing. A brief presentation regarding the proposed project will be conducted at 6 p.m. Formal comments will not be taken after the presentation, but if an official public hearing is held at a later date, citizens will have the opportunity to make formal, verbal comments at that time.

Joy Shealy, program manager for the DOT, said all bridges undergo regular testings and ratings. At a certain point, bridges are deemed to be “structurally deficient” and are placed on a list as needing to be replaced. “That doesn’t mean the bridge isn’t safe. It just needs to be replaced. With that particular bridge, this process has been going on for some time,” Shealy said.

The bridge will be closed and traffic will be detoured while the replacement is going on. Sometimes existing bridges are kept open while replacements are being built, but Shealy said because of the grading near the bridge, that will be impossible in this case. Shealy said the forum is being held as a way to hear from the public about any potential impact on wetlands or people’s homes. Sometimes, as happens with the proposed bridge replacement in Lockhart, the public is presented with several options for where a new bridge should go and which way traffic should be routed. The options for this bridge are pretty limited, though, Shealy said. The basic plan is pretty much set in stone, she said.

Shealy said construction on the bridge likely won’t start until early 2014.