The S.C. Department of Transportation has started emergency procurement of contractor services to make the needed repairs to the Pickens County bridge crossing Eighteen Mile Creek on Secondary 18. Secretary of Transportation Robert St. Onje Jr. gave the authorization so that the road can be reopened to traffic as quickly as possible. “This road carries almost 3,800 vehicles a day and the the detour is approximately nine miles,” St. Onje said. The bridge located near the US 123 interchange was closed early Tuesday morning because of problems with the foundation that caused the bridge deck to drop about one foot. The location is about seven miles east of Clemson. SCDOT engineers expect meeting with qualified contractors next week to review the scope of work and that bids could be received before Thanksgiving. If there are no problems with the environmental permitting process, work could begin as soon as next month. And the DOT added this: “SCDOT bridge engineers are in the process of identifying bridges of similar design so that special inspections can be conducted to ensure that the circumstances that led to the deterioration of the piles on the Eighteen Mile Creek Bridge do not cause similar problems elsewhere in the state.