Charleston-area motorists are entering the last day of the workweek and the fourth consecutive morning of traffic headaches as the Wando River bridge over westbound Interstate 526 remains closed.

Weather could worsen the commute, as forecasters are calling for rain in the morning and afternoon. 

During the Friday morning rush hour, traffic backed up over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge heading toward Charleston and in other areas of Mount Pleasant.

Some relief may come soon: Officials are preparing to implement a lane reversal on the eastbound side of I-526. Further details are expected to be released Friday afternoon. In a recent development in that effort, crews closed a lane on the eastbound side of the interstate to prepare for making the bridge on that side available for two-way traffic.

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U.S. Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant is clogged with traffic Tuesday due to the closure of the westbound span of the I-526 bridge over the Wando River. Wade Spees/Staff

Morning traffic

Speeds on U.S. Highway 17 south were down to 30 mph over the Ravenel Bridge, where two lanes now head onto Interstate 26 westbound. For a real-time view of traffic along DOT highways, visit 511sc.org

Both north and southbound U.S. 17 are part of detour suggestions outlined by the DOT:

  • Southbound US 17 across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge to I-26 in Charleston.
  • Northbound US 17 to Highway 41 to Clements Ferry back to I-526.

There are other stretches of delays on U.S. 17 toward the Ravenel Bridge, on Clements Ferry Road, Coleman Boulevard and Rifle Range Road. 

S.C. Department of Transportation crews spent Thursday and Friday tearing up the grassy median of I-526 and paving a new lane to allow westbound motorists to cross to the other side of the interstate.

DOT officials plan to provide details on the lane reversal at a 4:30 p.m. news conference. 

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Richie Lapenotiere, left, and Mike Destazio, right, feed the rope as Brock Lovett, center, slides down a cable on the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge as they check for abrasion and damage as part of their regular maintenance to prevent any future problems on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. Andrew J. Whitaker/ Staff

Regular work

Some motorists stuck in traffic this week on the southbound side of Ravenel Bridge might have noticed a lane closure on the other side.

Crews started regular maintenance on that span earlier in the week, before the issue with the Wando River bridge on I-526 came to light.

The forecast

The National Weather Service is calling for a 60 percent chance of rain under cloudy skies. A band of showers should begin to push onshore along the coast by 7 a.m., and storms are possible after 9 a.m.

Rainfall totals between a quarter and half an inch are possible by noon, forecasters said. 

Reach Angie Jackson at 843-937-5705. Follow her on Twitter at @angiejackson23

Angie Jackson covers crime and breaking news for The Post and Courier. She previously covered the same beat for the Grand Rapids Press and MLive.com in Michigan. When she’s not reporting, Angie enjoys teaching yoga and exploring the outdoors.