Ever sat in the traffic in the city of Beaufort or on the Lady’s Island side of the Beaufort River waiting to cross the “swing bridge”? I cannot count the appointments I have been late to because of the swing bridge.
Our current mayor, who worries about offshore drilling polluting the waterways, is dead set against replacing this bridge with a fixed structure that would allow a continuous flow of traffic.
Excuses we hear tossed out include: Traffic would avoid downtown and possibly curtail shopping. The restaurants would lose business. Or, this is how I remember Beaufort growing up.
Let me share something with you. The pollution from idling cars, four to eight times a day, causes more pollution than any drilling out in the ocean would ever cause. Many people with asthma and other breathing issues would welcome not having to sit in that traffic, especially in the summer, because this is the way it was 40 years or so ago.
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When the current bridge was put in, the course of the Beaufort River was changed to accommodate it. That could be done again to accommodate a new structure that would allow a continuous traffic flow. Some of the historic area might be compromised, but as with technology, things have changed from 40 years ago.
Think of the other benefits: no boat with a single mast holding up scores of cars. No repair costs. No salary and benefits to staff the bridge 24 hours a day. If taxpayers can spend $32.5 million on the Boundary Street project — or said another way over $2,000 dollars per Beaufort-proper resident — a new, safer, wider bridge should be mandated.