Letter from Rep. Nancy Mace to SCDOT Secretary Christy Hall
May 16, 2018
Secretary Christy Hall
955 Park Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Dear Secretary Hall,
I appreciate the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) acting in the interest of public safety and closing the west-bound side of the James B. Edwards bridge, and keeping the public informed of its progress related to repairs. However, there are questions that need to be answered. The situation our area is facing is unacceptable. Now we need to find out if this situation was also avoidable.
As you stated previously, there were a number of cables being monitored by SCDOT. However, the cable that broke Monday, May 14th, was not one of those being monitored, and it was one of eight (8) main cables in the structure. In photos of the broken cable, to the blind eye, it appears that corrosion was the root cause. If this is the case, it gives me significant pause regarding the long term health of the bridge.
You also mentioned SCDOT has been monitoring cables since 2016, when another cable was found to have a problem and the bridge was partially closed for it to be repaired or replaced.
My questions for SCDOT are as follows:
1. When was SCDOT first made aware of any cable or tendon problems or concerns on this bridge?
2. Of the 92 cables supporting the Wando bridge today, how many are being monitored?
3. Of the 92 cables, how many cables or sleeves show signs of corrosion?
4. Why wasn't this specific cable being monitored if it showed signs of corrosion?
5. How many, if any, cables or sleeves have been replaced since the bridge was built?
6. Is 2016 the last time a cable or sleeve was replaced?
7. How much money has been spent replacing cables or sleeves and/or making repairs to this bridge over the last decade?
8. Is the bridge being inspected by SCDOT personnel or third-party engineering consulting firms?
9. Is the federal government involved in any inspections?
10. How do environmental factors play a role in the cost of building infrastructure and its maintenance along the coast as compared to projects inland without the same coastal conditions?
11. Are there any other bridges along the coast being monitored due to structural integrity or corrosion concerns?
12. How much money has been spent by DOT on infrastructure, segmented by region (Lowcountry, Midlands, Pee Dee and Upstate) over the course of the last ten years?
13. Of the money spent by region, what is the population by region?
14. Of the money spent by region, how many tourists visit each region annually?
I526 may be one of the most important roads in the entire state with regards to traffic, vehicles per day and economic development. Per SCDOT traffic counts, I526 is visited by 70,000 to 92,000 commuters, and trucks, every single day.
This specific section of interstate, is also the femoral artery to one of the greatest economic generators in the state with the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCPA). SCPA generates over $53 billion in annual economic activity for the state. The port is also responsible for 1 in 11 jobs statewide, and port-supported jobs pay 40 percent higher than the state's average annual wage.
This section of road includes House District 99 and the re-routes for all traffic also wage through the roads throughout this district in Mt. Pleasant and Daniel Island. I appreciate the work of the SCDOT and serving our community. I want to learn as much as I can about this issue, so that we can do a better job of preventing future issues with this bridge and others throughout the coast.
As I've heard SCDOT state in meetings previously, Charleston is the fastest growing region of our state. And as such, I would appreciate a prompt response to my inquiry.
Representative Nancy Mace
Nancy Mace in the House