The South Carolina Department of Transportation will provide an official update Wednesday on the Charleston stretch of interstate that has been closed because of emergency bridge repairs.
Reports on Tuesday did not make it sound like the westbound lanes of the James B. Edwards bridge on I-526 would be reopening Wednesday, at the end of a 48-hour evaluation period.
That means traffic problems caused by the emergency shutdown are expected to last more than a few days, high-ranking government authorities said, according to postandcourier.com, adding it could be closed for "several weeks to come."
The westbound lanes of the bridge was closed Monday after engineers discovered a snapped cable inside the structure. The same bridge had a cable damaged in 2016 and has been inspected on a weekly basis since.
On Monday, SCDOT Deputy Secretary for Engineering Leland Colvin said the closure would take at least 48 hours, but could take longer, live5news.com reported.
Pete Poore, of SCDOT, told The State there currently is no timetable for when the bridge could be reopened.
The only announcement SCDOT has made about the status of the bridge is that it will hold a news conference at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to provide an update on the bridge that spans the Wando River, connecting Mount Pleasant to Daniel Island.
An average of 35,000 vehicles crossed the bridge on a daily basis, according to SCDOT. It immediately impacts commuters, and school and emergency responder vehicles from Charleston, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston and Berkeley County.
"We remain committed to working with our state and regional partners to do everything we can to mitigate the impacts of this bridge closure," Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said, according to counton2.com. "We expect to know much more tomorrow and will continue working to keep our citizens updated as new information becomes available."
While the closure and detours have caused delays and traffic snarls so far, it could be much worse if the bridge is not opened by Friday.
That's because Memorial Day weekend brings a large number of tourists and travelers to South Carolina's Lowcountry. Many plan to celebrate the holiday on one of the coastal beaches that are accessible by the bridge.
The bridge was designed by FIGG Bridge Group, abcnews4.com reported. That is the same engineering firm that designed the pedestrian bridge that collapsed at Miami's Florida International University in March, resulting in six deaths.
This is a developing story; check back for updates.