A stretch of I-526 in Charleston has been closed because of emergency bridge repairs, according to the South Carolina Department of Transportation.
The westbound James B. Edwards bridge on the interstate, which spans the Wando River, was closed Monday, SCDOT reported after engineers discovered a snapped cable inside the bridge structure. The same bridge had a cable damaged in 2016 and has been inspected on a weekly basis since.
Inspections are currently underway to determine what caused the cable to rupture, according to Pete Poore of SCDOT. He said there currently is no timetable for when the bridge could be reopened.
SCDOT confirmed the bridge will be closed for at least two days as an evaluation is made on repairing the bridge that was built in 1989 and has an average of 35,000 vehicles cross it on a daily basis. An SCDOT official said it is possible the bridge remains closed after the 48 hour examination period has been completed.
That will have an impact on drivers making the evening commute to Mount Pleasant, Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms, among other areas. If the bridge remains closed through Memorial Day weekend, it could present a major traffic issue for the thousands of tourists who plan to spend the holiday at a Lowcountry beach.
In addition to currently assessing the damage and developing a repair plan for the structure, SCDOT said is working closely with local law enforcement agencies on detours. Two detours have been announced, and SCDOT confirmed that will impact traffic in Charleston.
"This will affect traffic all over ... including school bus times," Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie said at a news conference. "This affects all of us. This is a time for us to be courteous and this is a time to be patient."
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.