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South Carolina officials taking extra steps to ensure I-77 project stays on schedule

All crews will be fully vaccinated, working around the clock to ensure the project is done on time. If not, the contractor will face massive fines.

YORK COUNTY, S.C. — The southbound lanes of the Catawba River Bridge on I-77 in York County, South Carolina, will be closed for a few weeks for a major construction project. 

Despite the usual delays we're used to seeing with big projects, the South Carolina Department of Transportation has several measures in place to make sure this gets completed on time. Construction begins May 6 and is expected to last about three weeks. That's about half the time state officials originally projected.

SCDOT says they're confident the bridge will be done on schedule but construction projects almost always deal with delays. Why should anyone expect the Catawba River Bridge to be any different? 

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First, crews will be working 24 hours a day. They're also all staying in a local hotel, very close to the construction site. The workers are all fully vaccinated, too. That's important because it means COVID-19 won't be a reason the project is delayed. 

But what happens if it rains? After all, the weather is one thing you can't control. SCDOT officials say rain is not an issue with this type of project and crews will be able to work through any inclement weather.

RELATED: 'Avoid it like the plague' | Planned I-77 south closure in Rock Hill coming next month

Finally, we all know money talks. The contractors will be fined $10,000 per hour they're late getting the project complete. 

No matter what, this is going to be a huge traffic headache and big delays are expected in the area during construction. SCOT also says they've set up an area where they'll monitor traffic in real-time and adjust traffic lights if needed to keep things going. 

The work will begin at 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 6.

RELATED: Catawba Riverkeeper fears South Carolina paper mill causing 'unsightly foam' downstream

Contact Ben Thompson at bthompson@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.