Leaphart Road bridge over I-26 opened Friday afternoon

SCDOT vehicle leads the procession of first cars to cross the new bridge.

Just before 2 p.m. Friday, the roadblocks were removed  from Leaphart Road, and the bridge over I-26 was opened for vehicle traffic. Cars were lined up, and  began moving over the bridge that had been closed since March.

“What a great day for our community and the motoring public. It was an inconvenience for all but the result is worth it,” said Sen. Nikki Setzler of West Columbia. “Thanks to our community for their support of this project and to DOT for the its work on and completion of this project.”

In addition to the bridge being opened, the southern portion of Chris Drive, between US 1 and Leaphart Road was opened. But Chris Drive, on the north of Leaphart Road, between Lephart and Sunset Boulevard, was closed. Harbor Drive, on the west side of the bridge is closed too. Harbor Drive and the north part of Chris Drive will remain closed until the road beds are raised enough to meet the elevation of the new bridge, said Robert Power, SCDOT West Columbia engineer, who was on site for the opening of the bridge Friday. The end of Morningside Drive, at Leaphart Road, has also been closed for construction.

When the project is completed, the bridge will have a middle left-turn lane added to it. There will also be left-turn lanes added to Chris Drive, north and south of Leaphart, and to Harbor Drive. Orchard Drive, which was closed, has been raised, and it will have a left-turn lane, too.

SCDOT crews expedited the work to open the Leaphart Road bridge after it had to be closed in March because it was hit by a tractor-trailer one too many times. The initial re-open date was November of 2018.