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Ben Sawyer girders a perfect fit

A shot of the temporary girders for the Ben Sawyer Bridge from underneath.

A shot of the temporary girders for the Ben Sawyer Bridge from underneath.

Provided by the SC Department of Transportation

Steel girders are now being erected for the new Ben Sawyer Bridge’s approach spans. The first sets of girders and its associated in-fill began arriving on site in mid-July. By the end of the month, crews had almost completed three of the six spans for each side. Girders have been arriving on site every three days, allowing for efficient installation of the girders and in-fill for each span. The girders for the new bridge line up perfectly with the foundation piers of the existing bridge.

To minimize traffic delay, the steel girders are being delivered from Florida straight to the construction site. Flaggers are on-site to enable truck drivers to quickly pull onto either the northwest or southwest construction access road.

Once these approach spans are completed, and the new swing span (being constructed at the Veterans Terminal at the Port of Charleston) is competed, the contractor will close the existing bridge and the Intracoastal Waterway to all traffic for seven days. During this seven-day closure, the old approach spans will be cut loose from their bearings and will be jacked onto the temporary supports to the east of the bridge. At the same time, the new approach spans will be jacked from their temporary supports on the west side of the bridge onto the existing foundations. The old swing span will be removed and the new swing span will be installed in its place, allowing the bridge to remain in its original footprint. The new travel lanes will be 14 feet wide instead of the 11 feet that they are today, and there will be a five and a half foot wide sidewalk on the west side (harbor side) of the bridge. At this time, the seven-day closure is scheduled to start around mid-November.
For updates and info on the Ben Sawyer Bridge project, visit

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