All lanes of Leaphart Road Bridge open, Chris Drive, Harbor Drive, too

All lanes of the Leaphart Road Bridge, over I-26 in West Columbia, have been opened.

“The lanes were opened Tuesday,” said Robert Power, West Columbia-based engineer for the S.C. Department of Transportation.

In addition to the bridge being closed, parts of Chris Drive, and Harbor Drive had been closed so those roads could be elevated to meet the expanded height of the bridge.

But Tuesday, the north side of Chris Drive was opened and Harbor Drive, northwest of the bridge, was opened. Over the last year-and-a-half, the bridge was raised to allow more clearance for trucks traveling  under it, on I-26.

“It’s terrific to finally get it concluded,” said State Sen. Nikki Setzler of West Columbia. “It’s a great benefit to the citizens of this area to have it interconnected and finished.” Setzler also said legislators have been pushing the SCDOT on road projects across the state, and SCDOT has responded. “A lot of work has been done.”

Power mentioned that a new school, East Point Academy, has opened on Chris Drive, and a parent had expressed satisfaction that Chris Drive had been reopened. Hurricane Builders is constructing a large building on Chris Drive, too.

The bridge is on the road between Highway 378 to US 1. A total of 10,000 cars used the bridge every day before it was taken out of service on March 24, 2017. The bridge was deemed structurally unsafe after being struck by a tractor-trailer travelling on I-26. The bridge had been struck several times before being closed.

Motorists who relied on the road had to take detours and alternate routes to Sunset Boulevard (378) and US 1.

In January, two lanes of the bridge were open to allow traffic. Tuesday, four left turn lanes were put into service. Drivers can now turn left from the bridge onto Orchard Drive and Chris Drive. There are also two left turn lanes, one for Harbor Drive and one for Chris Drive, north of the bridge.

Power said contractors will be on the site around the bridge all of November, working on the shoulders and wrapping up other parts of the project.

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