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Road closures draw concerns from Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival attendees

Art and Seafood Street Fest, was held on Calhoun Street in Bluffton on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014.
Art and Seafood Street Fest, was held on Calhoun Street in Bluffton on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. Staff photo

Road closures from historic flooding in South Carolina have some attendees of the upcoming Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival concerned about their travel plans.

Festival president Mary O'Neill said Thursday she has received about 15 calls about what routes must to be taken to reach Bluffton after the S.C. Department of Transportation closed hundreds of roads around South Carolina due to heavy flooding.

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Slightly over a third of the festival's attendees last year were from out of town, O'Neill said.

O'Neill said most of the calls she received came earlier in the week from Charlotte-area travelers, who will face a much easier commute to the festival than attendees heading south on Interstate 95.

While Interstate 77 between Columbia and Charlotte is open, a 75-mile stretch of I-95 between the Interstate 20 and Interstate 26 exits has remained closed since Sunday because of the flooding.

Drivers must now take a 135-mile detour -- using I-20, I-77 and I-26--inland to get around major flooding on I-95, according to an SCDOT detour map.

More attendees have called the festival's information line and local hotels to find out detour information, O'Neill said. She's hopeful the road closures won't affect attendance at the festival, which begins Saturday with a heritage tour and gospel concert.

Tickets are $30 for the daylong tour and celebratory concert. The cost for a Gullah dinner following the concert is $25 and benefits the Campbell Chapel A.M.E. Church.

Tickets are available for the dinner only and dinner guests may also attend the concert. To register for the tour and dinner call 843-706-0694 or visit http://www.celebratebluffton.com. Group discounts are also available.

The festival runs through Oct. 18.

For a complete schedule of events, visit http://www.blufftonartsandseafoodfestival.com.

S.C. Department of Transportation's Major Routes Map

The S.C. Department of Transportation has released an online map showing the condition of major state routes affected by historic flooding last weekend.

The map will be updated as more roads are opened. Some routes may be re-closed as flood waters move downstream, according to a news release.

The map is available at http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/traffic/article38205543.html.

Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.

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