SUMTER, S.C. — Sumter residents were able to express their concerns and get answers about the replacement of the Manning Avenue bridge at a meeting on Thursday.
The Manning Avenue Bridge was built in 1940. Ken Martin with the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), said the bridge is structurally deficient, which doesn’t mean its unsafe to travel across, but there are many elements needing replacement.
Martin said the bridge project will be between West Oakland Avenue and Watkins Street.
“Right now, there is a load rating on the bridge … in order to get out of that load rating category, we have to modernize the bridge.”
Some residents said the construction needs to start sooner rather than later.
At Thursday’s public information session, Elayne Brunson said she wants the bridge fixed as soon as possible.
“We need this bridge repaired, replaced as soon as soon as possible,” Brunson said. “We hear traffic go over the bridge, it literally sounds like a train wreck. Every other month the bridge is blocked off because they need to make a temporary patch up or repair."
James Kenley says he travels across the bridge frequently, saying he agrees it needs serious attention.
"It does need the work done," Kenley said. "There’s a hole or crack, and when you go across, you hear it go 'bump bump.'"
Chairman of Sumter County Council James McCain said he understands the frustrations, but says a project this size takes time.
“What they don’t understand is the engineering that is involved in a project of this magnitude, purchasing the right of ways that are going to be done," McCain said.
Construction is set to begin in the summer of 2024. During construction, SCDOT tentatively plans to close the bridge and detour traffic.