S.C. I-77 Catawba River Bridge repairs begin, delays expected

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 11:19 PM EDT
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YORK COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) - You might not know the Catawba River Bridge by name, but if you’ve driven south on from Charlotte on I-77, you’ve definitely gone right past it.

The large structure was built in the 1970s and is due for repairs.

The part of the bridge along I-77 south will be closed for the next 2.5 weeks until May 24. South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) says this project will cause major traffic and delays.

The I-77 bridge above the Catawba River in York County is shrinking down to four lanes shared by north and southbound cars. Some exits going toward Charlotte will be closed for the next three weeks as well. The traffic and the closures means people have to start preparing some second and third routes.

Marriott Loret and her husband live in Rock Hill and use I-77 daily to travel to and from Charlotte.

“We live off Celanese and our on-ramp northbound is going to be completely shut. We will have just two routes both my husband and I to get up to Charlotte,” Loret said.

She is already preparing for her 24-minute commute to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport to turn into an extra hour because when you work at an airport based on deadlines, being late isn’t an option.

“When you work for any job you have to be able to get work and especially with an airline you have to clock in. I am responsible for flights so I am terrified about coming to work tomorrow. I don’t know what it’s going to look like,” Loret said.

County leaders say they know every second counts when it comes to emergency services. York County Emergency Manager Chuck Haynes says the county’s planning to spread resources on either side of the bridge so first responders do not have to cut through as much traffic.

“We take it so serious that we’re going to have the right resources at the right place at the right time,” Haynes said.

Loret is hoping people are forgiving of the delays and take time to navigate through the unknown.

“All I can do is hope is that people don’t honk and people have their patience and everybody gets to where they’re going as quick as we can, I just don’t know what it’s going to look like,” Loret said.

Construction will continue until 5 a.m. May 24.

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