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Catawba Bridge repair closing seven river accesses in three communities

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 6:25 PM EDT
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TEGA CAY, S.C. (WBTV) - Mark your calendars because just two weeks from Thursday, the major repair work will start on the I-77 Catawba River Bridge in South Carolina.

While, it will create a lot of headaches for drivers, it will restrict people being out enjoying the river too. At first, hanging out on the river during the construction was not going to be an issue. However, Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Tega Cay and York County officials agreed it would be better to keep swimmers and fishers away.

Duke Energy, who looks over the river and accesses, agreed to shut down the seven entrances around the bridge. Those points are Fort Mill River Access, Baxter Neighborhood Access, Mason’s Bend Access, Riverwalk Access, Westminster Park Access, Camp Canaan Access and River Park Access.

People enjoying fishing today are already counting down the days until the Fort Mill access closes.

”I’m glad it’s only 17 days. And hopefully when it’s done the bridge will be safer for the people. And we can get back to what we enjoy doing,” says Max Gray, who was fishing on Thursday.

The zip of Gray’s fishing rod breaks through the noise of the dam and chirping birds at the Fort Mill river access.

”I’ve always wanted to come here and I decided to come try it out,” says Gray.

This is Gray’s first time at this river access. He heard it was a great place to cast his reel.

”I’ve always loved fishing and I’ve gotten a lot better at it because of COVID,” he says.

However, the only thing anyone will see for a few weeks on the river will be the turtles and birds.

”Since it’s a new fishing spot for me I’m probably going to want to come back so it’s a little disheartening,” he says.

Gray says he gets it—safety first, but another person I talked to says there can be both.

”I understand being safe. You got to be safe. But there’s ways that it can be open and still have that safety,” says another man fishing on the river.

People will not be able to come to the river from those seven places as long as the bridge is being repaired. That is only supposed to last 17 days as long as the construction stays on schedule.

As for construction impacting traffic, the South Carolina Department of Transportation will close all the southbound lanes of I-77 over the Catawba River on May 6th. That is two weeks from today. All drivers will use the northbound lanes to go both directions.

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