by Paul Bowers
Charleston Police reported this morning that the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge will remain closed as chunks of ice have been seen falling from the cables onto the bridge.
The Ravenel, the main artery between Mt. Pleasant and Charleston, was closed Wednesday due to icy conditions. This morning at 7:30 a.m., the Charleston Police Department, Mt. Pleasant Police Department, and S.C. Department of Transportation performed a joint assessment and found that ice was falling from the superstructure.
A similar problem arose during winter storms two weeks ago, when at least one chunk of ice fell on a passing vehicle and crushed its windshield. Charleston police expressed concerns Wednesday that the falling-ice problem would return on Thursday as temperatures climbed and the ice on the cables began to melt.
Falling ice is a problem on bridges worldwide. In Sweden, researchers from Dartmouth College have tried using pulse electro-thermal deicing technology on the cables of the Uddevalla Bridge, which has a similar shape to the Ravenel. While initial results were reportedly positive, the technology is not in widespread use.