On this day, 45 Years ago, a new Bridge Opened in Rock Hill
Cards were given to Rock Hill drivers crossing the new Charlotte Avenue bridge on June 29th, 1973; the first day of its opening. It explains that the bridge is the first section of an 8.5 million dollar Grade Crossing Elimination. A grade crossing elimination is when a road which crosses a train track is relocated, often in the form of an over- or underpass, allowing safer and easier passage for vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
The $8.5 million Trade Street grade elimination project was a massive plan to realign the Southern Railroad corridor and create a series of bridges and underpasses, providing easier, safer, and faster passage for vehicles and pedestrians trying to cross the tracks. However, this was at the cost of completely realigning Trade Street (now known as Dave Lyle), and straightening a curve in Black Street. The Model Cities program responsible for the funding of demolition in downtown Rock Hill into the early 1970s was an ambitious federal urban aid program an element of U.S. President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and War on Poverty and had a hand in the grade crossing elimination.
Stalls on railroad tracks are caused when trains come to a standstill on the tracks as railcars and engines are switched. Even though we complain today about getting stuck at the crossing in downtown Rock Hill, the results of the project relieved and what would be an enormous amount of traffic congestion today.
Here is a small treasure a reader sent to the RHR from their childhood:
“This card was in my mother’s collection of cards. Back in the early seventies, she was driving a huge dark green, 8-cylinder Buick. The picture is engaging, and the question on the card about the cost is curious. This bridge, which parallels the one on Oakland Avenue, became necessary because there were no other ways to cross the railroad tracks unless drivers wanted to drive down South Wilson and cut back. That would have been crazy and very time-consuming.”