Coast Guard seeks limits on bridge openings in South Carolina

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Motorists won’t have to stop as much for openings of a major South Carolina barrier island swing bridge, but operators of large recreational vessels might have to find a new route.

The Coast Guard is planning a trial run in April to limit the number of large boats that pass through the Richard V. Woods Memorial Bridge in tourist destination Beaufort, S.C.

Known locally as the Woods Bridge, the swing bridge connects downtown Beaufort with Lady’s Island and the outer Sea Islands in Beaufort County. Because of the presence of the Intracoastal Waterway, the bridge is required to open frequently for boat traffic to pass through.

Details of the trial period are pending from officials with the Coast Guard bridge division in Miami. However, local officials believe it will include restrictions on the hours when non-commercial vessels can pass through.

“If it’s a commercial vessel, it’s one thing, but if it’s a pleasure boat, it’s another,” city interim manager Bill Prokop told The Beaufort Gazette.

Log-book records show that the swing bridge opened nearly 4,000 times during a two-year period, with 660 of those for commercial boats.

You can see the swing bridge in action as it opens to allow a sailboat through.