Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – A dump truck, which was apparently working in the construction zone on I-20 near the 58 mile-marker east, struck the bridge at Augusta Road causing a major tie-up for much of Tuesday. The driver was somehow driving with the truck’s bed in the raised position and became wedged under the bridge damaging both the truck and the bridge.
The accident happened before 7:00 a.m. and the interstate quickly began to fill with commuters heading toward Columbia and work. Those people became hopelessly stuck in the mess.
SC State Troopers and other law enforcement officers eventually had to shut the entire eastbound lanes down while the dump truck was removed. Then, engineers from the SCDOT inspected the structural damages to the bridge to ensure it wasn’t weakened to the point it wouldn’t be unsafe to cross. They also had DOT employees place a tarp or barrier under the damaged section so that any debris that might be shaken loose as traffic crossed, wouldn’t fall onto cars on the interstate.
During the entire process, the interstate remained closed and officers had vehicle’s travelling east exit at Augusta Road (Hwy 1). They then turned onto Cedar Road, then Cromer Road, before coming out on Sunset Boulevard near Southeastern Trucking. Motorist could then get back on I-20. At one point, Lance Corporal David Jones estimated that traffic was backed up for 8 or 9 miles toward Augusta.
The eastbound lanes of I-20 were reopened just after 11:00 a.m. The Augusta Road (Hwy 1) overpass at I-20 stayed closed for closer inspection and wasn’t reopened until just before 1:00 p.m. Engineers will have to decide if anything should be done to the bridge before its replacement. They were already in the process of doing that before Tuesday’s accident. (See previous story on the bridge)