NIKKI HALEY’S TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT BEARS BRUNT OF BLAME
Frozen bridges in and around Charleston, S.C. have local residents – and their kneejerk elected officials – steaming mad at S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s Department of Transportation (SCDOT).
And with good reason …
As of Thursday morning the city’s iconic Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge – known locally as the “Cuz-way” – remained close due to ice, creating huge bottlenecks on alternate routes and Interstate 526. Meanwhile the Don Holt Bridge – another economically vital thoroughfare – was shut down until late Wednesday evening.
“Where in the hell is Haley and the DOT?” one exasperated local told FITS.
Russell Guerard, a candidate for the S.C. State House, said government leaders were “completely unprepared” for the storm.
“They had five days to figure this out,” Guerard said. “Safety obviously comes first but our leaders made promises to people and businesses. This has gone on for two days.”
He’s right … and imagine how bad it would have been if Winter Storm Leon had packed the punch people were expecting?
Surely the SCDOT is contemplating major changes to its winter storm preparedness plans, right?
Ummmmmm, not so much …
“I don’t think we’re going to change a whole lot,” former S.C. Rep. James Law, a department spokesman, told WCBD TV 2 (NBC – Charleston, S.C.). “We’ll go back and reassess everything we did and the results we got, but we’ve done everything we possibly can do to keep the roadways open.”
Opened in 2005, the Ravenel Bridge is the third-longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere. More than 90,000 vehicles cross it on a daily basis. Usually …
UPDATE: SCDOT says it hopes to have the Ravenel Bridge open by rush hour Thursday afternoon.
(Banner via Holy City Helicopters)