ROCK HILL, S.C. — A major bridge into downtown Rock Hill will shut down for three months starting Thursday.
Work to replace the bridge on Charlotte Avenue begins on July 22, which will affect traffic and businesses in the area. A detour will divert thousands of drivers onto another busy road, Oakland Avenue.
More than 9,000 vehicles travel on the bridge on Oakland Avenue into downtown every day, which is almost as many motorists who travel over the Charlotte Avenue bridge.
“The thought was to do it where we could close it and get the work done quicker,” said Rob Ruth, who heads the project for Rock Hill.
The Charlotte Avenue bridge, built in 1973, will be completely rebuilt. The bridge spans over Dave Lyle Boulevard and a Norfolk Southern rail line. The detour will divert traffic onto Oakland Avenue near Winthrop University, which could double the volume of traffic there.
Kahled Shaivi bought a convenience store nearby and has been remodeling it for four months.
“That’s going to have a big impact on my business,” Shaivi said. “It’s going to hurt my business.”
He opened the store 10 days ago and didn’t know the bridge was closing, which will most likely take customers away.
“When I heard this morning that they’re going work on that bridge, it got me worried,” Shaivi said.
The detour itself, onto Oakland Avenue, is unique. The city permanently blocked off two of the four lanes in one stretch of Oakland Avenue weeks ago to install curbs and landscaping in the roadway.
Ruth said that was to make the area safer for pedestrians, and to slow traffic on the bridge.
“You’re coming into a downtown area and you really don’t want people wanting to drive too fast where you have a lot of pedestrians and crossings,” Ruth said.
He doesn’t expect major bottlenecks there, even with the increase in traffic.
(WATCH BELOW: Pedestrian bridge collapses in Washington D.C., injuring 5)
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