Revised on: 07.17.2018 at 10:45 a.m.
Posted on: 06.27.2018 at 03:00 p.m.
By Jefferson Weaver
The long-awaited bridge over the dam at Lake Waccamaw could be open by July 4.
“It will definitely be ready for Take the Lake,” State Park Superintendent Toby Hall said last week, “but we expect it to be open by July 4.”
The 364-foot, $360,000 bridge will connect both sides of the lake on State Park property, creating a full loop of the lake for bicyclists and pedestrians. Fishing platforms will allow more access for anglers on the bridge, and officials hope the bridge will be a big attraction to visitors to the lake and the park.
Hall said final inspections could occur this week, at which point the bridge will be open for business. An official dedication will be scheduled later in the year.
Since the dam was built before World War II, the only walkway from Waccamaw Shores to the State Park has been a treacherous, sometimes slippery path across the dam itself. While the Take the Lake fitness challenge attempted to use the dam as a bridge several times, safety concerns forced organizers to turn participants around at the dam. Hall said TTL will have the bridge as part of its route this year.
Park officials hope the addition of the bridge – which connects two areas maintained by the State Parks – will encourage more visitors to the Waccamaw River portion of the park. Plans are in place to establish a canoe/kayak landing, additional primitive campsite, and other improvements in the newest section of the park, which can now only be accessed by boat or hiking from the main park facility.
The bridge project saw several delays due to weather conditions both here and elsewhere – production of the custom-built pilings was halted after the manufacturer shifted production to assist in hurricane relief efforts in Texas and Puerto Rico last year.