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‘We just can’t get around’: Enterprise Road bridge closed until February due to vehicle damage

Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 6:35 AM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Part of the Socastee community will be divided in half for the next couple of months, as the South Carolina Department of Transportation has shut down the Enterprise Road bridge.

SCDOT officials are still assessing the damage, but they’re reporting a piece of equipment hit the underside of the bridge while driving down S.C. 31.

The tentative timeline for repairs is slated to take through the end of February. People who live and work in the area are having to take the long way around.

”'Oh no, not again,’” said Peter Studwell, who lives and works along Enterprise Road. “That’s what I was thinking.”

Studwell knows all too well what life is like without the Enterprise Road bridge. The area was closed down for nine months back in 2016 while S.C. 31 was extended down to the Georgetown County line.

But at least then, he knew it was coming.

“It hurts us bad around here because we just can’t get around,” said Studwell. “The traffic is all funneling down Bay Road. With school open and everything else, it takes 20 minutes longer to get out of here now.”

SCDOT decided to close the bridge for safety reasons after a vehicle hit several support beams while passing under. Chunks of concrete came off the bridge and steel rods were bent by the impact.

Studwell runs his towing business off Enterprise Road, so the bridge closure will make it difficult to give people an estimated time of arrival when they need a tow truck.

“I do police calls, accident calls,” said Studwell. “People broken down on the road. Now, they got to wait an extra 15 minutes for me to get out of here because I have to go all the way around to help these people.”

While Studwell’s worried about getting out, Waccatee Zoo is worried about their customers being able to get in.

Tourists and snowbirds staying at the beach would typically take the bridge to get to the zoo.

“It will have a financial impact on us,” said zookeeper Jeff Futrell. “To what degree, you can’t tell. This time of year, you just don’t know. We just have to grin and bear it.”

Futrell says the only silver lining is that this happened during the offseason.

Now, they’re just hoping that, come February, they’ll be reconnected with their neighbors on the other end of Enterprise Road.

SCDOT has yet to announce whether or not S.C. 31, which passes under, will need to be closed at all during the repair process. It is currently still open.

SCDOT reports that section of S.C. 31 sees about 15,600 cars per day, so that would have an even bigger impact on traffic in the area.

They’ll just have to ‘cross that bridge’ when they come to it.

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