. - Nearly two years after the history-making flood of 2015, a badly damaged bridge in Richland County could now be on its way to replacement.
Officials with SCDOT say they are currently reviewing bids to replace the bridge which connects Highway 21 over Crane Creek.
Currently, traffic has had to be detoured to Hard Scrabble Road in order for vehicles leaving Columbia to connect with I-77. Many drivers say it can be a nightmare for large tractor-trailers to turn around if they miss the turn.
"You might find them nearly flipped over, turned over, on the sharp curve because they can't make the turn," said Brian Patterson, who lives
near the bridge.
For months now, SCDOT officials say their biggest barrier to getting the roadway fixed was a dam that sits underneath it. Both the dam and the road collapsed due to rising waters on Lake Elizabeth during the epic flood.
Officials say months ago the area homeowners association that owns the dam opted to abandon it and that cleared the way for repairs.
"This one was owned by a community it was more of a community decision," said Andy Leaphart, chief engineer for operations for SCDOT. "They [the homeowners] had to ultimately come to terms with whether they wanted to try and fix that and have a lake...or if they wanted to abandon it so it did take a little while to go through that process."
SCDOT is currently looking to award a contract for the bridge repair sometime before the end of the week. Officials say even once that happens it could be another six to nine months before the road completely reopens.