Union Street bridge deemed unsafe due to damage in Aiken

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 10:30 PM EST
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Union Street bridge in downtown Aiken is now closed because of structural issues.

We spoke with the city manager to get the latest update on funding to fix the bridges.

“We drove over two weeks ago. I didn’t notice that there was an issue. And all of a sudden, this has been put up,” said Caterina Miltenberger, Aiken resident.

South Carolina Department of Transportation marked the bridge unsafe.

“Nobody said anything. Nobody warned us,” she said.

“It was not shocking, just given the age of the bridge, and York Street and Fairfield, both failed inspections in 201. It was only a matter of time,” said Aiken City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh

Now it’s a matter of theirs.

“The five to 10 minutes, that may not be a lot in somebody’s life but to be able to have access to where we live is greater than having to go down this way and then drive around,” said Miltenberger.

Bedenbaugh said: “We are waiting to hear what that assessment is going to say regarding the future of the bridge, whether it can just be repaired and reopened or if it would need to be closed.”

Neighbors are tired of watching their history turn to ruins.

“Take care of the bridges that need to be repaired. It’s just like going in for a physical, you’re not going to do it, then you’re slowly going to just get worse and worse,” she said. “This is an eyesore. There are a lot of eyesores that have not been repaired and we don’t understand why.”

Fairfield and Union bridge are under maintenance and upkeep by the South Carolina Department of Transportation.

While the city of Aiken is still deciding to spend the plutonium funds on the Fairfield Street bridge, Bendenbaugh says that decision can happen in the next two or three months.