COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Last Sunday, during a rainstorm, a tractor-trailer driver lost control along I-20 on a bridge over the Wateree River in Kershaw County. Both the truck and the driver went into the river after hitting the guard rail of the 46 year old bridge with such an impact that the concrete side rails broke.
These types of spectacular crashes where a large tractor trailer ends up in a river are commonly seen in Hollywood movies, not on our roads that we use every day to get from one place to another.
This bridge was actually judged to be among the most structurally sound in the state based on a 2015 report by the Federal Highway Administration.
If a crash like this could happen on a bridge with a 92.2 sufficiency rating, what are the dangers at bridges considered to be among the *worst* in the state?
Seven of the 10 "most traveled structurally deficient bridges" in the state are found in Richland and Lexington Counties. Chances are, you travel on one of them daily. Areas such as Interstate 26 over the Southern Railway near West Columbia -- a bridge built in the 1950's with more than 80-thousand crossings daily.
The safety of all drivers continues to be compromised by the lack of funding to upgrade our roads and bridges.
The editorial board of WIS once again calls for our lawmakers to do the right thing and complete a road improvement bill that will give us the adequate funding to fix South Carolina's aging and decaying transportation system. Once again, we reiterate that a gas tax would only cost the average South Carolina driver about 7 dollars per month.
The safety of our people is just too important. Waiting until tomorrow could prove to be fatal.