SCDOT honored for beach work

by | August 24, 2018 5:00 pm

Last Updated: August 22, 2018 at 12:03 pm

The South Carolina Department of Transportation has been honored regionally for its work in getting Edisto Beach back to normal after Hurricane Irma.
The SCDOT’s work clearing sand from Palmetto Boulevard and from the town’s storm sewer system was recognized as the winner in the Operations Excellence-Small Category during the 11th annual America’s Transportation Awards.
SCDOT received two of the eight awards presented on Aug. 7, also receiving a Best Use of Technology and Innovation-Small Category award for its York Street bridge replacement project in Aiken County.
When Hurricane Irma moved onshore in September 2017, Palmetto Boulevard — Edisto Beach’s main commercial artery — was covered in 12,000 cubic yards of sand, its depth reaching four feet in some areas.
A team of 61 SCDOT employees was challenged to convert this new beach back to being the town’s boulevard and finish the job in days, not weeks.From sunrise to sunset, they pushed the sand into large piles, and the town’s contractor dispersed the sand piles at night, using it to establish berms on the beach.
After three days of cleaning out the water drainage system, crews piled up the sand off the roadway. The boulevard was cleared in just five days, completed at a cost of $170,000.
Edisto Beach Mayor Jane Darby said that SCDOT was able to use lessons learned from dealing with Hurricane Matthew in handling the results of Hurricane Irma.
“After Matthew, the time period to repair S.C Highway 174 to a passable state extended into several weeks,” Darby said. “Following Hurricane Irma, we were faced with the very same scenario. Irma impacted us on Sunday. By Monday afternoon the SCDOT had drafted personnel and equipment from across the state as well as formulating a plan to clear the road.
“The SCDOT employees immediately began working from sunup to sunset and even sometimes into the night. They often worked through breaks and meals in order to complete the task of clearing Palmetto Boulevard. By Saturday afternoon, the project was winding down and was completed on Sunday,” Darby said.
A few of the engineers and personnel stayed a little longer to consult on other problem areas, she added.
“The comparison in the recovery of Palmetto Boulevard between the period following Matthew and the period following Irma made the latter a true miracle. Our businesses were able to recover quickly and we were able to repopulate the town within 24 hours of the storm,” Darby said.
“We cannot ever express our level of gratitude for the miracle accomplished by The South Carolina Department of Transportation and Director Christy Hall,” the mayor stated.
The America’s Transportation Awards competition is sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), Socrata, AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“State DOTs are committed to making America safer, better and stronger by improving connections between communities both large and small, urban and rural,” said John Schroer, president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Transportation. “The transportation projects in this competition are part of a national multimodal network that is moving millions of people and tons of goods where they need to go every day.”
AASHTO represents State Departments of Transportation in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

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