A $96-million contract award to the Lane Construction Corporation, the U.S. subsidiary of Webuild Group, is the start of a much-needed South Carolina construction project to replace the existing 1970’s-era Interstate-20 bridge over Wateree River and to repair overflow bridges in Kershaw County.

The project near Camden, S.C., entails the replacement of the east and westbound bridges of I-20 over the Wateree River and the rehabilitation of one overflow bridge on east I-20 and two additional overflow bridges, according to Lane. The contract was awarded in May.

According to the South Carolina Dept. of Transportation (SCDOT), the existing bridge structures will be replaced and roadway approaches improved to meet current design standards. The project includes the construction of a temporary bridge to maintain traffic on I-20, the construction of new bridge bents and superstructures and the demolition and removal of the existing bridges, as well as the demolition of sub- and superstructure and the construction of a new bridge for east and westbound traffic.

The single bridge concept is functional, says Lane Project Director Eric Pruemer, and eliminates future widening within the median proposed in SCDOT’s dual bridge concept.   

Future widening will only be required on the eastbound side and within the current existing footprint, avoiding future ROW (right of way) and environmental impacts, Pruemer says in a statement. In addition, the four-lane single bridge concept allowed for the bridge to be replaced in two stages, saving approximately 200 days of construction.  

He attributed the reduction in construction costs not having to install and remove a temporary detour bridge. With the same theme as the river bridge in consideration of future widening, our concept replaces the eastbound bridge over the Farm Pond with a bridge that will accommodate a future third lane.   

This bridge will also accommodate the Maintenance of Traffic Plan (MOT) for the westbound Farm Pond bridge replacement in the future, allowing for this bridge to be replaced in a single stage, providing significant future savings to SCDOT, Pruemer says. 

All of the bridges were constructed in the 1970s and are at the end of their service life, requiring a combination of replacement and repair, according to SCDOT. 

Rehabilitation also is needed for the overflow bridges: one half a mile northeast of the Wateree River, and the other is just over 1 mile northeast of the river. 

The rehabilitation work on the bridge superstructures involves the decks and repairs to bridge substructures, according to SCDOT. Work on each bridge is expected to take approximately six months. Temporary lane closures may be required but traffic will be maintained along I-20 for the duration of the rehabilitation. 

The bridge work comes as South Carolina is involved in the $6-billion federal investment to improve roads, bridges and airports as part of the Biden Administration's Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) signed into law in 2022. 

The federal money has boosted SCDOT bridge replacement, road pavement and interstate widening projects already underway, including I-26 between Columbia and Charleston and Malfunction Junction—the I-20, I-26 and I-126 corridor, SCDOT said.

Interstate 20 is a major east and west highway that runs 1,539 miles from its interchange with I-10 in Scroggins Draw, Texas, and ending at an interchange with I-95 in Florence, South Carolina.