The Socastee Swing Bridge is closed to vehicle traffic indefinitely after an apparent sinkhole was found Tuesday on the S.C. 707 side of the Intracoastal Waterway, just before the bridge.
Kenny Cannon who operates the bridge was on his job when a driver noticed the hole around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, he said.
The hole is about 2 feet wide and several feet deep, opening to the bank of the waterway.
Cannon said the road is heavily traveled and will likely cause traffic headaches for people who use it daily.
The closure is limited to the bridge. Initially Tuesday, the road closure extended to S.C. 707 on one end and to Forestbrook Road on the other.
The sinkhole is causing some Horry County Schools buses to be rerouted over the bridge at S.C. 544, but that route already is in the district’s contingency plan, said Jim Wright, HCS director of transportation. “We can’t really depend on that swing bridge,” said Wright, adding that buses will have to deal with a lot more traffic on the bigger bridge, but it is a route the district has used in the past. Wright said it may take a few days to get the timing right on the new route, but he will check today’s arrival times and make any schedule adjustments that are necessary.
Bruce Nutatis, area manager for River City Cafe next to the bridge, said the restaurant initially planned to shut down for the evening because of the closure because access to the building was blocked.
“They initially had it closed down and that would’ve killed us,” he said.
Cannon opened the bridge to boat traffic before 7 p.m. Tuesday. He said the S.C. Department of Transportation is expected to assess the hole Wednesday. Neither Cannon nor police knew when the roadway could reopen.
DOT officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Vicki Grooms contributed to this story.