Battered Bridges

Bridges spanning the Ashley and Cooper rivers to the old city have been struck violently more times than a piñata, creating both tragedy and comedy. The first wooden bridge across the Ashley was built in 1810, but hit by hurricane and destroyed 3 years later. Other than a railroad bridge that was destroyed during the Civil War, there was no vehicle traffic across the Ashley until the late 1800’s, when the steel swing bridge design emerged. But the Ashley bridge was badly placed in relation to the channel and was struck by so many ships, it was declared a hazard to navigation in 1921, and one tug going through was struck in the stern when the revolving trestle did an out-of-control 360. The new bridge opened in 1926 didn’t fare much better, being plowed into by the SS Fort Fetterman in 1955, and cars were redirected across a rail trestle upriver for weeks until it was fixed.

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