State transportation officials have drawn plans for a longer, wider bridge along Spanish Wells Road over Jarvis Creek to replace the current crossing, which has been deemed structurally deficient.
Wooden underpinnings of the 56-year-old bridge appear rotted and covered in barnacles.
S.C. Department of Transportation officials plan to unveil the drawings and solicit feedback from residents from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Grace Community Church at 450 Spanish Wells Road.
The DOT plans to build a bridge east of the current one, program manager Alan Matienzo said.
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Plans call for the 75-foot-long bridge to be replaced with a longer span that adds paved shoulders and parapet walls on either side of the bridge's two, 12-foot-wide lanes.
Shifting the bridge to the east, on the opposite side of an existing boardwalk, and lengthening it should mean less disturbance to wetlands and creek beds, Matienzo said.
About 80 percent of the estimated $4.5 million project would be paid for with federal highway dollars and the rest with state funds, he said.
The DOT still needs to buy some land for the project, including right of way to connect the new bridge to Spanish Wells Road.
Construction is expected to begin in winter 2013 and last eight to 12 months, Matienzo said.
"There should be no major impacts to traffic," he said of the bridge's construction. "We'll maintain the traffic going over the current bridge as the new one is being constructed, until toward the end, when we tie the new bridge into Spanish Wells Road."
Drivers are still safe driving over the current bridge, Matienzo said."There is no need for the public to worry that anything is going to happen to the bridge for years come, but it is to the point where it needs to be replaced," he said. "The wooden piles the substructure is built on top of are sound for existing traffic."
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