Bridge widening project begins

Bowman Road in Mount Pleasant will be closed to traffic so the bridge can be replaced.

MOUNT PLEASANT — Ninety-year-old Marie Dietz visits the Kmart here about three times a week.

But with the closing of the nearby Bowman Road bridge across Shem Creek for the next five months, she said she’ll do whatever she has to in order to keep her regular visits.

“I’ll just have to go by the best way I can find to get here,” said Dietz, who drives from her Johnny Dodds Boulevard apartment complex.

Drivers cruising the U.S. Highway 17 corridor will see their second major road change in three days after the tiny bridge over Shem Creek in front of the Kmart parking lot entrance is closed. The route was cut off Monday at midnight.

While local traffic can still get around, the throughway won’t open again for five months, after the new 30-yard-long bridge is expanded to four lanes, said Ed Barbee, the town’s road construction information officer. Sidewalks are also going in.

The closure comes as the Johnnie Dodds Boulevard overpass at Bowman Road opened Sunday, allowing travel through that stretch of town without stoplights.

Town officials say the five-lane path, which includes three southbound lanes and two northbound lanes, showed good progress Monday.

“We’re comfortable with it,” said Mayor Billy Swails.

He added that there might be some confusion at first as drivers first experience the intended routes, “but they’ll adapt.”

The overpass was limited to only two northbound lanes because of space problems attributed to the Interstate 526 overpass, officials said.

Political Editor

Schuyler Kropf is The Post and Courier political editor. He has covered every major political race in South Carolina dating to 1988, including for U.S. Senate, governorship, the Statehouse and Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.