With bridge demolished, some neighbors feel inconvenienced and cut off

A map of a detour around the damaged bridge that runs 4 Holes Road over I-26 in Orangeburg Co. (Source: WIS)
A map of a detour around the damaged bridge that runs 4 Holes Road over I-26 in Orangeburg Co. (Source: WIS)

ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC (WIS) - The quaint Orangeburg County community of Four Holes – located near I-26 between Orangeburg and Elloree – has been Thomas Stroman's home all his life.

"Four Holes is very quiet," he said. "We have a lot of traffic on Four Holes Road, you know, people coming back and forth from Elloree and stuff."

On Friday morning, that quiet was interrupted.

"It just sounded like a loud boom," Stroman recalled.

Across the street, Stroman's neighbor, Joe DeBerry, didn't just hear it. He felt it.

"That thud that we felt as it hit the bridge was – we knew something heavy and hard had hit the bridge," DeBerry said.

Turns out, a truck hauling gravel had struck the nearby Four Holes Road Bridge over I-26. The driver died, and the bridge was so badly damaged that SCDOT had to demolish it over the weekend.

With the bridge gone so too is Stroman's and DeBerry's route to Orangeburg.

"That's how we get to town," DeBerry said. "Everybody out here – we can still go around – there are ways to get around, but you have to go out further in the country, almost to other towns, to get around."

"Almost everything you do, you've got to cross the bridge to go back to," Stroman added.

Both said the lack of a bridge adds about 15 minutes to get to town, which already takes about 20 minutes.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation has said it'll take months or more to replace the bridge but hasn't said much else. Monday afternoon, SCDOT said it's "reviewing all the options for that bridge."

Stroman, DeBerry, and others, hope SCDOT will have the funding to build a new Four Holes Bridge.

"We're cut off from the hospitals, or it's longer to the hospitals, and there are a lot of older people that live out here – people who grew up here and whose families grew up here. Yeah, nobody likes the inconvenience of it," DeBerry said.

SCDOT has pointed out that only about 500 cars crossed the old bridge each day.

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