2013-08-05 / Front Page

They’re stealing what?

Thieves taking guide rails from bridges
By TIM GULLA
Ledger Staff Writer

Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office deputies are on the lookout for a thief or thieves who have been stealing pieces of guide rail from area bridges.

In total, eight sections of guide rail, described as galvanized steel T-type end terminals, are missing from South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) bridges on Kegtown Mill Road, Studebaker Road and Oglesby Valley Road.

“Why they’re taking those? I don’t know,” offered Stephen Ellis, resident maintenance engineer for the SCDOT office in Gaffney. Ellis said it’s only an assumption that the guide rail was taken for its scrap value.

The sections, which are placed at the ends of guide rails to deflect vehicles that leave the roadway, likely require two people to lift them.

Ellis said the local SCDOT maintenance office, which is responsible for approximately 700 miles of roadway in Cherokee County, has never had this issue before.

All of the guide rail end terminals will have to be replaced due to safety concerns. Ellis said he believed there were two spares in the SCDOT’s local maintenance yard. The remainder will have to be borrowed from other SCDOT districts or purchased.

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office estimated theft losses at $8,000.

The thefts were discovered between July 18 and July 29, although the exact date of the thefts is unclear.

If anyone has any information about the thefts, they are asked to call Crime Stoppers of Cherokee County at 1-888-CRIME-SC; or the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office at (864) 489-4722.

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