Richland Co. I-26 bridge named worst in SC - - Columbia, South Carolina

Richland Co. I-26 bridge named worst in SC


AAA Carolinas says South Carolina's six most substandard bridges are all on Interstate 26.

The travel organization says the worst bridge in South Carolina is over a railroad track on I-26 just east of the Interstate 126 exit near Columbia. It was built in 1958 and carries about 550,000 vehicles every week.

There is no work scheduled on the bridge that has been number one on the list every year since 2000 except in 2009, when it was number two, according to AAA.

South Carolina has the lowest highway funding per mile in the country, with the fourth-largest state-maintained highway system, covering more than 41,000 miles.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation is also responsible for 8,157 bridges; substandard bridges account for 22% of all South Carolina bridges.

"Inadequate funding for road and bridge maintenance over the past decade means we still have a significant number of substandard bridges in South Carolina," said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. "We need to find new sources of funding for our state's Department of Transportation."

The South Carolina Department of Transportation has been dealing with annual budget shortfalls. In 2007, SCDOT began shifting more funding toward bridge replacement and rehabilitation, from approximately $65 million annually to the current level of $119 million.

"During the 2013 South Carolina legislative year, the Governor and General Assembly have expressed focusing any additional resources available on bridges to ensure safety and to support economic development," said South Carolina Secretary of Transportation Robert St. Onge.

"SCDOT has also rebalanced our three-phased approach to bridge maintenance that includes replacement, rehabilitation and preservation projects," added St. Onge. "This approach enables us to get the maximum service life out of our structures for the most economical cost."

The South Carolina legislature is searching for additional revenue and new taxation sources to help improve the inadequate annual funding for the state's transportation infrastructure, but efforts to reach a passable transportation budget have proven difficult so far.

AAA says three more bridges on I-26 in Lexington County and two in Charleston County are among the six most substandard bridges in the state. The group says the bridges are in relatively poor condition.

Seven bridges in Charleston County made AAA's list of the 20 most substandard bridges in the state. Richland and Lexington counties each had three bridges and Greenville and Spartanburg each had two bridges make the top 20.

You can read the full list here.

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved. WCSC and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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