CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Bottleneck traffic on the Ravenel and Don Holt bridges is on the rise and gridlock isn’t the only problem.
Crashes that stall traffic and shut down lanes for hours at a time are increasingly common. A recent study shows collisions on the two bridges have doubled since 2011.
With the unpredictable traffic, Natalie Phillips decided on a major lifestyle change just to get around Charleston each day.
“I’m a single mom,” she said. “I wasn’t able to cook dinner, we were eating a lot of fast food.”
She said it became too hard to manage her commute and the demands of being a single parent.
“It used to take 20 minutes to get to work, now it is an hour each way. So I was spending two hours in the care every day,” Phillips said. “So now, fortunately enough, I’ve been able to work from home.”
She added: “This allows me to be at home more and cook dinner for my child and have a clean hours.”
All it takes is a one fender bender to impact rush hour or turn a day trip into a nightmare for hundreds of drivers — stuck in traffic on the Ravenel or the Don Holt bridges.
Traffic data shows wrecks have more than doubled on the Ravenel and Don Holt bridges since 2011 and injuries have nearly tripled, according to the Post and Courier.
Police say drivers need to stay focused on the road and stay on the lookout for hazards or unexpected stops.
“That’s the thing, coming into Mount Pleasant, there’s traffic everywhere,” said Mount Pleasant Police Inspector Chip Googe. “You have to be aware of changing conditions on the roadways so paying attention instead of your phone to is key to safe driving.”
But once a wreck happens — there isn’t much that can do to stop the inevitable traffic jams.
“It’s getting worse and worse,” said tow truck driver Marty Rodenberg.
A tow truck driver since the 1980’s and owner of Sea Island Auto Service, he said drivers cause problems for crews working to clear a wreck if they are not quick to move over, especially when a path is needed for vehicles flashing emergency lights.
“People won’t pull over and they won’t give you any room,” said Rodenberg. “It’s just scary out there. Drivers need to give more respect to police and drivers when these accidents happen, there’s not much room on the side of the road.”