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Replacement of Greenville, S.C.'s Church Street Bridge to Begin This Summer

Thu January 26, 2023 - Southeast Edition
SCDOT & WSPA-TV


(Map courtesy of SCDOT)
(Map courtesy of SCDOT)

For years, South Carolina's Church Street Bridge has served as the gateway to Greenville, and, in turn, it has felt the effects of the never-ending traffic passing through that part of town.

"Like a number of bridges in South Carolina, this one is 50 years old or older," Pete Poore, a spokesperson of the state's Department of Transportation (SCDOT), told WSPA-TV in Spartanburg in a report that aired Jan. 25.

Now the thousands of Upstate residents whose daily commutes include crossing the bridge along U.S. Highway 29/Church Street will have to make changes, as the old structure is set to get an upgrade.

The $8 million project will include resurfacing the roadway, adding more safety features, widening the sidewalks, installing new lighting and replacing the staircase at McBee Street.

Poore said the bridge's improvements are designed to make the 64-year-old span a staple once again of Greenville's skyline.

"Some of the things that will be done [include] the bridge deck will be [rehabbed], the railings and sidewalks will be retrofitted to make them safer, [and] the west side sidewalk will be expanded out to be a total of 9-ft. wide," he explained. "There will be some painting and some aesthetics. There are a number of things planned to make this not only a functioning bridge but an attraction for downtown Greenville."

But Poore added that aside from the visual element and with the bridge's age in mind, SCDOT also will include much-needed safety and functional repairs.

"It's reached the end of its shelf life, if you will, and it's still safe, but we want to make it safer," he told WSPA-TV.

SCDOT described the work as a rehabilitation project to address the deteriorating bridge deck, update the storm drainage system on the structure, and improve the bridge's overall condition.

The Church Street Bridge has crossed over East Broad Street in Greenville since its construction in 1959. One of the city's most prominent landmarks, it is categorized by SCDOT as a major urban arterial roadway. The bridge has four travel lanes, two in each direction, with a concrete median. In addition, 5-ft.-wide sidewalks are found on each side of the span.

The new work will include steel girder painting, joint sealing, spall repair, barrier/sidewalk replacement, and hydro demolition with a concrete overlay to improve the poor condition of the deck concrete. Lighting on the bridge is also outdated and nonfunctional, requiring a replacement.

Other proposed enhancements to the bridge will include:

  • Planter boxes to provide a visual barrier to vehicular traffic.
  • New overhead and pedestal lighting.
  • Modifications to the existing railings for pedestrian safety.

Although vehicle traffic will be allowed across the bridge during construction, motorists should expect delays or choose an alternative route into Greenville.

SCDOT also noted that the walking path beneath the Church Street Bridge will close for the duration of the project to avoid injury to pedestrians. Likewise, the parking areas under the structure will be shut down as needed during the work to keep folks safe and to prevent potential damage to cars and trucks.

Greenville city leaders have been told by the state agency to expect the Church Street Bridge work to last between 12 and 18 months. The structure will stay open for most of that time, but traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction for the entirety of the work.

While nearby residents said the bridge improvement project has its downside, they are looking forward to the result.

"I think in the long run it'll be better for Greenville," said Cara Doering, in speaking with WSPA-TV. "It might be frustrating at first, but I think the outcome will be great."




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