I-95 reopening in South Carolina after record flood
Charleston, S.C. — Authorities reopened a key southbound stretch of Interstate 95 through South Carolina on Monday, more than a week after an historic storm dumped as much as 2 feet of rain that shut off the main East Coast highway from Miami to Maine.
The state Transportation Department said Monday that 13 miles of southbound lanes were open again to traffic and that the northbound lanes were expected to reopen late Monday or early Tuesday.
The busy interstate had been closed for more than a week, causing delays and motorist headaches while crews checked 13 bridges crossing streams and swamps in the middle part of the state.
The department says crews spent about 4,000 man hours repairing the spans while divers also checked on the repairs.
The closing forced drivers to take an almost 170-mile detour to the state capitol of Columbia instead of the normal 75-mile drive along the interstate from Interstate 26 to Interstate 20.
In recent days the detour has resulted in traffic delays on another interstate southeast of Columbia, the state capital city flooded in many parts by the days of rain.
While the interstate is reopening, parts of about 225 state roads remained closed Monday morning because of recent flooding. In additional almost 100 bridges are closed either because of flooding or so they can be checked for damage.
The Transportation Department also said that, beginning Monday, it will begin removing debris from four counties hard-hit by the storm, Crews planned to be out in Georgetown and Horry counties on the coast and in Lexington, Richland and Sumter counties in the Midlands near the state capitol of Columbia.
Charleston officials also announced that crews would be out Monday cleaning up storm debris.
Rain-swollen rivers in eastern South Carolina are finally beginning to recede.
The National Weather Service reports that the Waccamaw River at Conway was at 15.9 feet on Monday, down from 16.2 feet over the weekend. But still there is major flooding in the area where flood stage is 11 feet.
The Santee River near Jamestown is at about 21 feet, down a foot from over the weekend. There is still moderate flooding in the area where flood stage is 10 feet.
And in Orangeburg, the north fork of the Edisto River is back down to 8 feet. That’s flood stage in the area. But with weekend rains, that river is expected to rise again, cresting at over 9 feet by Thursday, causing minor flooding.
In Columbia, the city continues the laborious process of repairing its water system where the storm breached a canal that holds the city’s water supply.
On Sunday, the city lifted a boil water advisory for water customers in some of the city’s northern and northwestern suburbs. City officials hope the advisory can be lifted for all the systems 375,000 customers in the next week or so.