Letter: Bridge Freeze Bumbled By SC Leaders

Dear Editor, Where is the accountability? In this era of instant information I find it unacceptable that the Ravenel Bridge freeze in Charleston, S.C. was handled in such a poor way. Where were our leaders in this time of need?  From the top down, I never got one piece of information…

Dear Editor,

Where is the accountability?

In this era of instant information I find it unacceptable that the Ravenel Bridge freeze in Charleston, S.C. was handled in such a poor way. Where were our leaders in this time of need?  From the top down, I never got one piece of information from the Governor’s office, the Department of Transportation (SCDOT), or my State Representative.

Thousands of people were left in the dark as our leaders were either asleep or drunk.

The bridge was closed when there should have been an effort to open it – and was open when it should have been closed.

Did DOT let people know that the speed limit should have been 25 MPH and to be careful of falling ice before people crossed the bridge Friday morning? Did DOT contact the bridge designers as this mess started to unfold and get expert advice on how to safely manage the situation? I along with thousands of other people and businesses were left in the dark as this major six-lane bridge was shut down for forty hours.

Our leaders have made guarantees to its citizens,to its businesses, and possible relocation candidates, that we are on the cutting edge of progress and that the Lowcountry is the place to be. We have made promises and I was taught a long time ago, you better not say it if you don’t mean it. As a free market, pro business, fiscal conservative, and life long citizen of the Lowcountry, running for the State House I want some answers on how this will be managed in the future and I know the citizens of the Lowcountry want them too.

russell guerard

Russell Guérard
Candidate for SC State House 110

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IVEBEENHACKED February 3, 2014 at 8:38 am

As long as you have leaders like Haley who hire retired Colonels to get favors for her hubby and keep putting in people like Sanfraud…… and other Teabaggers who think the government is the enemy dont bitch about it please.

Demagogue February 3, 2014 at 8:46 am

How would you have handled it?

kyle February 3, 2014 at 9:15 am

Ok, Demagogue and any other folks who scratch there head at your comment. The weather in Charleston was cold enough for ice, snow, and more importantly, freezing rain. First, the emergency management division should have been posted with a staff ready for possible issues, SC does not deal with winter weather well, small or large. That was the first mistake. Next, DOT already had plows in the Midlands and surrounding areas but did not plan for temperatures which were clearly cold enough in Charleston for ice, especially on bridges. And there is one, big bridge in particular carrying about 90k vehicles a day. The DOT was spraying a mixture of saltwater and sand mixture on the roads to prevent freezing and other accumulations. This could have been accomplished back and forth and back and forth on the bridges of the Charleston Co – Ravenel, Mt. Pleasant 526, Isle of Palms etc. This was not done. Not only that, there was no coordination with the city, county, or weather forecasters in the area to inform folks not to go out, impending plans etc. It was a total debacle. Bobby Harrell was the only one that acted in advance (whether that was for political reasons for Toal or weather) but he acted. The Gov of this state didn’t do jack shit. She epitomizes a lack of leadership and is only reactionary. She has NEVER gotten in front of an issue, always reacts. I don’t have enough space to list all of them. No outreach, no action, no communication with the public when all the weather information was there. It is piss poor.

Bingo! February 3, 2014 at 9:35 am

Thank you for your well reasoned post Kyle.

shifty henry February 3, 2014 at 10:03 am

Where was Haley during this time, and what was she doing? Most certainly not discussing the situation with anyone. May God help the coastal residents if there is a hurrricane!

StayFrosty February 3, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Um, I knew winter weather was coming last Sunday, heard it from the emergency people:

Halfvast Conspirator February 3, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Go over to the County gaol and grab 20 or 30 or 40 of those tough guys, get 4 or 8 dump trucks full of sand and 20 or 40 shovels, and take both over to the bridge. Start here, go there. Repeat as necessary.

dwb619 February 3, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Cool hand Luke would have salted that bridge in nothing flat.

TontoBubbaGoldstein February 3, 2014 at 12:38 pm

What we had heeyah….was failyuh to communicate.

Smirks February 3, 2014 at 8:55 am

Accountability is when Haley wins her reelection and there is no significant change in the State House. SCDoR will still remain open to hackers, SCDoT will still do diddly squat and demand more money for it, SCDHEC will still work on behalf of Georgia, and it’ll still be “a great day in SC” while the state crumbles to bits.

Thomas February 3, 2014 at 8:59 am

Dear Abby,

Pouring, coating salt on the the drive deck of the 644 million dollar Cooper River Bridge accelerates decomposition of the concrete rebar. This corrosion tends to crumble the surface rendering driving impossible. Note, you just can not resurface the bridge with asphalt as the added/reduced weight on the suspension cables could void the warranty.

Seeing that climatic studies indicate the possibility of a snow/ice covered Cooper River Bridge every generation or so, engineering the drive deck for snow/ice is not needed.

My question, Abby, is that since closing the bridge during the very rare instances of snow/ice coverage which melts very likely a day or so after any accumulation, doesn’t it make sense to limit traffic crossing the bridge instead of accelerating corrosion by adding freaking salt to the drive deck of a 644 million dollar bridge susceptible to salt corrosion?

upstate February 3, 2014 at 9:05 am

One would hope that salt corrosion would have been a significant consideration…..given it’s location over a body of salt water.

Just the casual observation from afar

Bingo! February 3, 2014 at 9:06 am

Exactly what I was about to ask him about!

“doesn’t it make sense to limit traffic crossing the bridge instead of accelerating corrosion by adding freaking salt to the drive deck of a 644 million dollar bridge susceptible to salt corrosion?”

I mean. holy cow…SC bought a bridge over salt water that isn’t designed for corrosion resistance?!?!!

I guess, that would be….a PERFECT example of why government should be doing less of everything in general.

CNSYD February 3, 2014 at 9:12 am

Perhaps Sic Willie is correct. “Government-run” schools produce dolts like you and others. Now wonder STEM has become such a concern.

Thomas February 3, 2014 at 9:28 am

Just be the useful idiots you portray yourselves as and vote for anything that is not Sen Lindsey Graham in the June primary and possible run off. Thanks

TontoBubbaGoldstein February 3, 2014 at 12:31 pm


You’re welcome.

Bingo! February 3, 2014 at 9:30 am

Is there an argument there, or are you just pissing in the wind?

TontoBubbaGoldstein February 3, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Next up, CNSYD will pull the cape off of the ol’ Lone Ranger and start messin’ around with Jim. : O

CNSYD February 3, 2014 at 3:06 pm

I am afraid satire fails with this group. The “engineering/scientific” knowledge possessed by the vast majority of posters only supports the failure of mainstream mass education.

134 February 3, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Never use satire with an audience of IQ 115 or less. Parody requires an IQ of 125 or higher to recognize and decipher the message.

Jan February 3, 2014 at 10:48 am

Who is this addressed to? Bingo was agreeing that pouring salt on a bridge over salt water could not possibly have a major impact on the life of the bridge.

Thomas February 3, 2014 at 9:16 am

A study was done in 2010 to monitor any salt corrosion of the drive deck that was engineered to reduce/ward off salt corrosion as best as humans can do while providing a safe, passable, hurricane and earthquake resistant drive deck. Pouring salt on the drive deck in the rare occurence of snow/ice accumulations exacerbates inherent salt corrosion…so either an inconvenience once every forty years or a reduced life span on a 644 million dollar bridge by adding corrosive salt…some choice, huh.

Bingo! February 3, 2014 at 9:34 am

Pardon my skepticism if I think that sprinkling salt on the deck of bridge spanning salt water once every 20 years is going to rapidly decrease its usable life. (that’s aside from the issue of what may have been put down in lieu, like sand)

I’m certainly open to any links you have to the above referenced study.

euwe max February 3, 2014 at 10:14 am

a PERFECT example of why government should be doing less of everything in general.


a PRIVATE company would NEVER build a piece of crap like that in a world without government regulations!

CNSYD February 3, 2014 at 10:41 am

Oh No! All those ships tied up at Charleston docks have steel hulls! Don’t they know steel corrodes in salt water? I wonder how many will sink before sundown today?

In lieu of steel rebar, your engineering expertise would suggest what material be used?

euwe max February 3, 2014 at 1:21 pm

I didn’t say *anything* about the materials used.

Cut back on the scopolamine and up the adderall.

Uh huh February 3, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Of course, carried out to its natural extent the libertarians wouldn’t have the public owning the bridge anyway…it’s be a toll bridge a la the old Ambassador bridge…so under that context one thin dime of public money wouldn’t have to be spent for prevention.

euwe max February 3, 2014 at 2:57 pm

and they would have to use the “other” bridge(s) when it closed.

anon. February 3, 2014 at 10:15 am


euwe max February 3, 2014 at 10:16 am

Once you let something like this get built, there’s nothing *to* do but bitch and moan, hide from the cameras, and wait for summer.

Tom February 3, 2014 at 10:45 am

To the people of Charleston and its environs. If you continue to elect people to run your government who believe government should not exist; don’t bitch to the rest of us when they are not there to clear the ice from your roads or pull you out of the flood waters of a hurricane.

Reality need not apply February 3, 2014 at 12:56 pm

“If you continue to elect people to run your government who believe government should not exist”

When you find just 1 of those people holding an elected office in Charleston, please let me know.

Ben_Kinlaw February 4, 2014 at 10:00 am

The size and scope of any gov’t should be relegated to two primary functions; protect our freedoms and keep us safe.

These two primary functions each have subsets, but the ‘intent’ by our founding fathers was to keep gov’t at a minimum in fulfilling these functions.

The main driver behind our Republic was to have a representative form of gov’t that depends on their citizens, not citizens looking to and depending on their gov’t, rather than self reliance.

ThreePalms February 3, 2014 at 11:04 am

What a bunch of exaggerated, whiney drivel candidate Guerard composed. Why does he assume that there was no effort to open the bridge when it was closed? Why did he not warn everyone after it was opened that it should be closed due to falling ice from the superstructure? Was he aware of this possibility? It is unfortunate that Mr. Guerard was uninformed during the 40 hour shut down while many people, including citizens in other areas of the state, knew of the closures and openings. Could he please expand on the “guarantees” made to the citizens by the leaders?

This guy, who is running for the state house, choses to be uninformed and does not seem to have enough sense to stay off of the roadways during an ice storm. He is a perfect teaparty candidate.

Demagogue February 3, 2014 at 1:01 pm

I’m sure a few of his buds will soon answer the questions for you shortly just as they did mine earlier this morning.

Patience, brother, patience. The man himself need not answer, he has mouthpieces.

TontoBubbaGoldstein February 3, 2014 at 1:10 pm

He gotst people.

venomachine February 3, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Sounds like the typical politico…a finger pointing buffoon.

GrandTango February 3, 2014 at 11:37 am

This candidate wants to eliminate income tax…that is GOOD…but I’m not sure this letter of “You Suck, You’re Stupid-I’m better” is the best way to approach getting elected. Very Liberal-Tarian.

Good luck, though, if you support Conservative ideals. We’ve tried liberalism, and it has failed miserably and we’re all suffering under it. We can’t afford anymore failure.

rwwllms February 3, 2014 at 12:07 pm

I’m surprised that no one knows the other grain that melts ice and keeps it from refreezing – sugar. Yes, sugar. It even does a better job than salt and sugar from beets is way less corrosive and could even act as an inhibitor.

By the way, with all the various sealants and corrosion inhibitors on the market surely something of this sort was used on the bridge, right?

MeltingIceAin'tRocketSurgery February 3, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Or the nontoxic antifreeze, propylene glycol. Or just plain sand that will wash off later.

rwwllms February 3, 2014 at 9:08 pm

You would think the road engineers at SCDOT would know this stuff. After all it’s their job.

dwb619 February 3, 2014 at 9:22 pm

They probably know their job.
Getting NIMRATA to let them do their job is another issue.

easterndumbfuckastan February 4, 2014 at 9:28 am

Again, EXPENSIVE just close it down until the deck and the ice from the cables melt. This doesn’t happen that often.

easterndumbfuckastan February 4, 2014 at 9:27 am

Sugar is expensive compared to salt. It’s cheaper just to close the bridge. Truthfully this is South Carolina the state shuts down for snow and ice, no one really should be out in that weather anyway.

TontoBubbaGoldstein February 3, 2014 at 12:20 pm

TBG is old enough not to trust his memory, yet waaaaay to young to remember most of the Grace Bridges history….

Assuming that such icy weather events were much more common years ago, because global warming….they must have dumped tons of salt every winter on the Grace. Yeah, that one, the one with all the exposed metal….that lasted what…70 years?

Norma Scok February 3, 2014 at 1:51 pm

In all fairness…that bridge wasn’t safe enough to drive on the last (at least) 10 years it was open.

TontoBubbaGoldstein February 3, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Yeah…was always concerned running a boat under it as well.

ITBGRC, it scored a 3 out of a possible 100 on some type of safety rating….

CNSYD February 3, 2014 at 3:10 pm

per friends at DOT, the piers were gone long ago.

Lived to tell about it February 4, 2014 at 12:03 am

I remember after having first moved to Charlotte in 2000(before moving to SC), being very eager to see Charleston. The wife and I drove down and had the pleasure of crossing the Cooper River bridge.

Few things scare me while driving…I can honest say the Cooper River bridge scared the living shit out of me the first time across(in the rain!).

My next thought was, “What the hell? They can’t afford to replace this structural hazard? WTF is wrong with Charleston?”

Demagogue February 3, 2014 at 3:26 pm

I first crossed that bridge knowingly in about ’57 or ’58. Went to see “Suzie Q” who was fenced in at the base of the bridge landing on the Mt. Pleasant side at WUSN’s (Channel 2-NBC) antennae site.

I’ve hated that bridge my whole life.

Later was a WCSC viewer. Charlie Hall and Carroll Godwin still rule!

TontoBubbaGoldstein February 3, 2014 at 5:19 pm

One of TBG’s earliest memories was riding across the Grace behind a logging truck when it was still two way traffic. TBG was 2-3 years old. Later on TBG wore down more than his share of Bearing Buddies, towing assorted trailers over her…all the while wondering how the Hell they did it “back in the day”. TBG has an older buddy that used to drive a school bus over her back in the days of oncoming traffic… TBG also recalls, probably 10 years ago, when some drunk heading from Downtown to Mt Pleasant traveling the wrong way, made it to the Peeing spot pullover in the middle before crashing through the railing and plummeting to Drum Island…and lived to tell about it.

shifty henry February 3, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Glad you’re still with us………..

Norma Scok February 4, 2014 at 9:22 am

I always liked that part ’cause thats where the yankees would get really scared if you are right next to them.

Norma Scok February 4, 2014 at 9:25 am

I ground a right side set of Jeep Grand Wagoneer center caps right down to the wheel on that bridge. I always figured thats how you knew when you were too close…you saw the sparks. Ahhh..good times.

And just think..that bridge was once two way traffic.

venomachine February 3, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Your time has come to shine.
All your dreams are on their way.
See how they shine.
Oh if you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

The Colonel February 3, 2014 at 1:26 pm

What a tool. His “Issues Page” at the Russell Guérard – State House 110 Website has this to say: “Coming Soon” – he left off “…as soon as I can wet my finger and hold it up long enough to figure out which way the winds blow. In the mean time, I’ll write a letter to all the editors in the state on the off chance that some of them will publish it and get me some free advertising.”

Norma Scok February 3, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Living in Mt P, I wasn’t affected at all by the bridge closing from weather. I was, however, affected TWICE by that jackass Phillip DeClemente who has shut the bridge down twice (and once was fed pizza while doing so).

euwe max February 3, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Someone asked me what materials I would have used, thinking I must be the guy worried about using salt on concrete and rebar. Dumbass..

…the dialogue in my head – the one that communes with that damned black dog in the neighbor’s yard that barks out commands to kill everyone all damn night – got on the track of “an ounce of prevention,” and I came up with two ideas that bridge manufacturers might have thought of, had they been instructed to ameliorate the effects of ice on the operation of the bridge…

A layer beneath the road surface containing either a grid of electrical wires, like the rich folks who are fucking us in the ass put in their bathrooms… or stainless steel tubes containing antifreeze that can be heated at one end and circulated to warm the surface.

A heating wire in each cable to prevent ice from forming in it.

There. Now maybe the voices will stop.

..nope.. they’re still there.

shifty henry February 3, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Was several million gallons of steaming hot piss included in your dialogue? — just askin’,,,

euwe max February 3, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Here, let me give you the phone… I hate being in the middle!

Touchin' myself February 4, 2014 at 9:24 am

Can’t you de-ice a bridge with that?

I hear it’s especially effective with vinegar.

CNSYD February 3, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Chloride stress corrosion loves stainless steel. You are familiar with NaCl aren’t you?

euwe max February 3, 2014 at 8:36 pm

peek-a-boo… I can still see you…

did you adjust your dose like I suggested?

dwb619 February 3, 2014 at 9:20 pm

Don;’t forget inconel.
Just be sure to ‘dip’ the rod, ya’ can’t ‘run’ it, it won’t break down.

Forest Hump February 3, 2014 at 11:43 pm

Can you imagine the cost of building a bridge of any of the materials mentioned here versus good ole galvanized/painted steel?


MyDaddyIsRich February 3, 2014 at 7:11 pm

Captain Hindsight

anon. February 3, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Hard to be accountable when you’re blowing a .20 BAC at 8:00am at the lock up!

jerry February 4, 2014 at 7:54 am

This guy looks like a real creep.

jerry February 5, 2014 at 6:57 am Reply

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