Bad Bridges in Aiken County?

Bad Bridges in Aiken County? (Image 1)

Bad bridges in Aiken County – with some you can believe it.  They moan and groan with the cars that cross, and showing their age.

But what about Palmetto Parkway:  It is still shiny and you won't hear that concrete creak. But, according to standards used in the AAA study, it is functionally obsolete.

“It stretches the imagination to think it could be functionally obsolete,” says North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover.

What he says makes sense – The bridge is only three years young, and was made to carry a heavy load.

“It was designed to interstate standards for very high traffic volumes, they say it gets 1000 cars a day, we have residential roads that get that,” he explains.

I called the engineer of that project and he too says he did not build a bad bridge. So I went to AAA to get answers.

“It could be too narrow or something or maybe the bridge has bad visibility at nighttime, it's hard to see because it has a curve to it,” Cale Padgett of AAA explains.

That's because long -or shortly in this case- after a bridge is built, standards can change.  Only three years later there may be different requirements for the width of the lanes or where the paint is placed.  Here's another case – the Laurens Street Bridge, it just opened in October, but it too is obsolete.

“Traffic flow, more traffic area, it could have just been a bad design from the beginning and that could have been how it wound up on this list, it's not a bad bridge,” Padgett says.

In any case you should care.

“That could cause traffic accidents, that could back up traffic, especially in high traffic areas, that can make a huge problem later on,” Padgett says.

But the worst bridge in Aiken County, many of you ride over every day, not even realizing you're on a bridge, even if you work for AAA.

“I saw the number one list was on us 1 and I drive across that everyday,” Padgett says.

So do you need to worry that the Big Horse Creek Bridge will come tumbling down?

“It could be a crack in the bridge, and you could drive over it and pop your tire,” he says. “That doesn't mean it's going to collapse. None of these bridges are going to collapse.

South Carolina has the lowest per mile funding in the country – and leaders say wherever that money goes, it shouldn't be Palmetto Parkway.

“That bridge is sound, it's operating as it's designed it's handling the traffic flow and it could handle a lot more,” Glover says.  “In other areas, there are issues…with bridges that are 30, 40, 50 years old.”

Click here to view the full report on Aiken County bridges.

Click here to view the full report on Edgefield County bridges.

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