Augusta area's Georgia side ranks above, South Carolina side below state averages for structurally sound bridges

The Fifth Street Bridge over the Savannah River is one of the 10 Richmond County bridges listed as structurally deficient.

South Carolina bridges are in worse shape than those in Georgia, according to a study being released today.


Transportation for America says 13 percent of South Caro­lina’s bridges are structurally deficient in some way, compared with 6.4 percent of Georgia’s. The study defined “structurally deficient” as an engineering rating of 4 or less to the deck, substructure or superstructure.

The difference between the two states was even sharper in the Augusta metro area.

Richmond County had the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges on the Georgia side of the metro area – 5.6 percent. The four-county area of Richmond, Columbia, Burke and McDuffie had 14 of 361 bridges deemed structurally deficient, 3.9 percent. Of those 14, 10 were in Richmond County, which has 178 bridges.

Columbia County had the lowest percentage, at 1.6 percent, with one of 62 bridges needing attention.

On the South Carolina side, Aiken and Edgefield counties had a combined 24.7 percent, with 75 of the counties’ 304 bridges being structurally deficient. Edgefield County had the highest percentage in the state, at 30.5 percent, with 39 out of 128 bridges rated as structurally deficient. Aiken County was not much better, at 20.5 percent, with 36 of the county’s 176 bridges structurally deficient.

Pete Poore, the director of communications for the South Carolina Department of Transportation, said the study isn’t exactly a revelation.

“The study doesn’t really show anything we didn’t already know, and we try to get as many obsolete bridges taken care of as we can,” he said. “The one-word answer is funding.”

The vast majority of the deficient bridges, he said, are on the list simply because of their age and are not hazardous.

Some of the Aiken County bridges were built as early as the 1920s, and roads were more narrow back then. Old bridges are commonly only 10 feet wide, but the state Transportation Department prefers bridges to be 12 feet wide, with shoulder room as well.

“We have a systematic approach,” Poore said. “There’s no knee-jerk reaction to studies like this.”


The following is a sample of Augusta metro area bridges deemed “structurally deficient” in a report by Transportation for America:


                                                                         Deck         Yr. Built Traffic Count

Burke County

Story Mill Road over Brier Creek                      7                  1968            1,060

Columbia County

Stevens Way over Reed Creek tributary         N                 1987            1,460

McDuffie County

Georgia Highway 150 over Interstate 20        5                  1966           5,290

Richmond County

Willis Foreman Road over Spirit Creek            7                  1950           5,000

Marks Church Road over Rae’s Creek              6                 1975            1,400

Fifth Street over Savannah River                      5                 1931            4,460

Seventh Street over Augusta Canal                   6                 1914            4,420

Fenwick Street over Augusta Canal                   4                 1940           1,400

Goodrich Road over Canal Spillway                    5                1940           1,400

Aiken County

U.S. Highway 1 over Big Horse Creek                6                1950          20,700

S.C. Highway 19 over Interstate 20                   7                1968          13,600

S.C. Highway 125 over S-68                                7                1951          12,400

U.S. Highway 1 over Shaw’s Creek                     7                1954          11,800

Edgefield County

S-19-10 over Beaverdam Creek                         5                1969          3,100

U.S. Highway 25 over Log Creek                        4                1940          1,850

U.S. Highway 25 over Turkey Creek                 4                1956          1,850

S-19-40 over Log Creek                                      5                1957          1,100


NOTE: Ratings are on a scale of 1-10. Ratings of 4 and below land a bridge on the list. The traffic count is the “average annual daily traffic” number used in transportation planning and engineering to determine how busy a stretch of road is.

Complete list of Georgia bridges
Complete list of S.C. bridges