DOT official: Cypress Gardens bridge repairs ahead of schedule

  • Thursday, September 4, 2014

Photo Provided SCDOT commissioner Jim Rozier says the train overpass on Cypress Gardens road is 30 days ahead of schedule.

Four months after a derailing trail collapsed a Berkeley County bridge, a transportation official has said the repairs will be finished by the end of September.

This puts the project 30 days ahead of schedule.

On April 28, a CSX train derailed and struck the bridge on Cypress Gardens Road. Prior to the wreck, the road served 6,200 vehicles a day. The project was declared an emergency, which meant the contractor had to finish repairs in less than 180 days, or six months.

Cape Romain Contractors Inc. was awarded the $3-million contract. According to S.C. Department of Transportation commissioner Jim Rozier, the contractor has a $600,000 incentive to finish 30 days early. CSX is footing the bill for the bridge repairs.

“It’s moving on and it’s going to be done a whole lot quicker than the deadline was. We pushed it as hard as we could push it because of what we’re putting the people through,” Rozier said.

A significant deadline was met earlier this summer that allowed a faster pace on completion. Secretary of Transportation Janet P. Oakley said girders were delivered and installed July 25-26 despite stormy weather at the time.

Rozier told the Gazette that if the project is not completely finished by end of the month, then at the very least, cars will be able to pass over the railroad tracks.

The cause of the wreck was never determined and speed was not a factor, Rozier said.

“The train just left the track,” Rozier said. “It was not going that fast, but who knows? I never heard any reason other than the train just derailed.”

No additional safety measures will be added to the bridge to prevent future collapses due to train derailments. Rozier said that’s because there is no way to stop a derailing train’s destruction.

“Every bridge in the country that a train goes under runs that risk. When a train goes off the track it’s going to clear out whatever it runs into,” he said.

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