Everyone is in agreement that a new bridge is needed for Highway 41 over the Wando River. The dispute holding up the bridge is the height of the bridge which will determine what type of boats will be able to proceed up river to some of the most pristine and scenic waterways in the Charleston area.
When public hearings were held in 2010, the local residents, the Town of Mount Pleasant, and Berkeley County were all in agreement that a low-profile bridge was desirable, and the S.C. Department of Transportation agreed to proceed with the low-profile bridge. Unfortunately, budget issues have forced them to back off from that decision.
The Coast Guard is demanding a minimum 55-foot clearance on a new bridge which will allow sailboats with sizeable masts to pass under. I am aware that there have been ongoing negotiations with the Coast Guard but they refuse to compromise with a lower height requirement.
Given the conditions at this location on the Wando River, and the relatively narrow expanse compared to the I-526 bridge that crosses the very wide area of Wando River, a 55-foot-tall bridge is, in my opinion, totally inappropriate and overkill.
The SCDOT and the Federal Highway Administration are hosting a public information meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 4, from 5-7 p.m. at the Park West Complex, 1251 Park West Boulevard, Mount Pleasant, to provide information on their plan for the 55-foot bridge.
No verbal comments will be allowed by the public, although written comments will be accepted.
Why is a public meeting being held with no verbal comments allowed? I have a sickening feeling in my gut that this 55-foot-tall bridge is a done deal and that they donít really want to deal with the public any more.
I have spoken with many of my neighbors who live very close to the bridge and no one seems to be aware of the upcoming meeting. The notice appeared in the paper on only one occasion.
No one is going to show up at this meeting; no one is going to prepare written comments.
The bridge that no one wants is going to be built and it will be too late for anyone to do anything about it when the heavy equipment shows up and construction commences.
Please get involved and let SCDOT know your feelings on a 55-foot bridge over the Wando River.
Comments should be addressed to: S.C. Department of Transportation; P.O. Box 191, Columbia, S.C. 29202-0191.
Please show up. Please speak up.