The familiar hum and rumble of traffic across the Richard V. Woods Memorial Bridge was noticeably absent Thursday afternoon in downtown Beaufort.
Beaufort police closed the swing bridge at about 1:30 p.m. after a crane mounted on a truck struck the upper part of the bridge's steel frame, said Police Chief Matt Clancy.
The truck, owned by the Beaufort County Department of Public Works, was traveling from Lady's Island toward Beaufort when the upper arm of the crane struck the bridge's metal supports, Clancy said.
The bridge reopened at about 3:30 p.m. -- just in time for the afternoon rush hour -- after an inspector from the S.C. Department of Transportation declared it safe. The inspector planned to monitor the bridge for any changes, according to authorities.
No injuries or major damage to the bridge or the crane was reported.
During the two hours the bridge was closed, patrol cars blocked the intersection of Bay and Carteret streets while officers directed vehicles away from the span, and traffic to and from Lady's Island was rerouted to the J.E. McTeer Bridge.
The closing caused minor traffic jams around town, mainly near the intersection of Ribaut Road and Lady's Island Drive, where Port Royal police officers and a Beaufort County sheriff's deputy directed traffic.
Thursday's incident was not the first time the swing bridge has been closed. In November 2008, the bridge was shut down for several hours after its gear box malfunctioned, causing the bridge to be stuck in its open position. The bridge reopened several hours later to cars but remained closed to boat traffic for several days.