Shroud covering Barefoot Bridge removed

High winds are making it slow going, but the shrouding that has covered the Barefoot Resort & Golf swing bridge since November 2011 is being removed.

North Myrtle Beach spokesman Pat Dowling says the shroud covering the Barefoot Resort & Golf Swing Bridge is coming off, hopefully allowing for the bridge to be reopened January 16.

The repainting of the bridge is complete, and Dowling says the goal is to reopen the bridge to at least one lane of traffic Monday night.

There was concern today that windy conditions would stop workers from being able to remove the shroud, but as of 1 p.m. it was in the process of being removed.

Dowling said if crews can completely remove the shroud, they will then remove contractor materials from the bridge, and test swing the bridge on Sunday.

Dowling also explained what would happen once the bridge reopens:

Once movement to the bridge has been fully restored, one lane will be open to vehicle traffic for about two days. During that time, steel workers will replace some steel plates located below the road bed, and painters will then paint the new plates. This is necessary because, during the repainting process, it was discovered that the drain pipes that drain the road bed when it rains were too short. For years, storm water has poured out of the drains and on to the steel plates, eroding them to the point where they must be replaced.

The old drain pipes, which may have been original to the bridge or may have been installed when the bridge was dry-docked and refurbished prior to its installation at Barefoot Resort & Golf, have been removed and longer drain pipes have been installed.

Painters will also paint some small locations where hardware attached the shroud to the bridge.

When this work has been accomplished, all lanes will reopen to vehicle traffic and the project will be completed. The deadline for completing the entire repainting project was February 15th.

For more information about some of the delays that slowed the bridge work, click here.