Replacing the Leaphart Bridge is a traffic nightmare for West Columbia residents

Replacing the Leaphart Bridge is a traffic nightmare for West Columbia residents

WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It's a long detour is what many Midlands drivers have to deal with every day, just to get to work, school, or running errands.

The replacement of the Leaphart bridge that runs over I-26  now has a major detour that runs in one big loop, up Harbor Drive to Sunset Boulevard, and down Chris Drive, just to get back onto Leaphart Road.

And while drivers deal with the inconvenience, one local pet shelter says it's hurting their business. It is certainly a major project.

They are working on a replacement, but it's at the cost of some patience for those who used to travel it every day.

"It's a nightmare trying to get in and trying to get out," Sammy Wullner with Pets Inc. said.

At least 10,000 cars used to travel this bridge every day which connects Highway 378 to US 1. But now with construction underway, drivers are being forced to use detours - a headache for those who live and work in this area.

"Highway 378 near the traffic, you get the hospital traffic, highway 378 is a nightmare. I have tried to go to work and I can't get back to work," Wullner said.

Wullner is the COO of Pets Inc., a business located on the detour, says pet adoptions are down and it's a major impact he fears because of the construction.

And the bad news for drivers – the project won't be fully completed until November 2018.

The good news – after it's all said and done SCDOT says that this $17.7 million project is supposed to not only provide a new structure with a sufficient amount of vertical clearance.

The bridge was damaged after an 18-wheeler didn't quite make it under, severely damaging an already old bridge.

Several neighbors who live along this road and say they're very unhappy with it. One said the old bridge had to go, and another said this has ruined his life, he lives only feet away from the project.

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