Orthodontist in Fripp Island, SC

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A smile is such a simple thing, but it can hold so much power. Smiling is universally considered to be a way that humans display joy. Smiles communicate to others how we’re feeling and are often the best way to break the ice when meeting a new person. A good-natured smile can work wonders, but if you’re like most folks, your smile may not be perfect. Every day, we hear stories from people who feel embarrassed, ashamed, or even scared to flash their smile. In fact, 75% of prospective orthodontic patients could benefit from straighter teeth. Thankfully, Winning Orthodontic Smiles offers affordable orthodontic solutions that give our patients a healthier mouth, more self-esteem, and more confidence.

At Winning Orthodontic Smiles, your smile is our passion. Our orthodontists and hygienists are dedicated to providing you with the best orthodontic care possible in a stress-free, comfortable setting. We know what a difference a beautiful smile can make, which is why we are so dedicated to giving our clients a winning smile they love.

Having served the Lowcountry for more than 30 years, we know that no two patients have the exact orthodontic needs. That’s why we offer a variety of treatment options to correct each patient’s unique concerns, along with payment plans that make braces affordable for every family. You can rest easy knowing that our team specializes in the latest innovations in the field of orthodontics. This allows us to treat our patients in the most efficient, affordable, and aesthetically pleasing ways possible.

A few of our orthodontic treatment options in South Carolina include:
  • Invisalign®
  • Invisalign® Teen
  • Clear Braces
  • Traditional Braces
  • Early Treatment
  • Adult Treatment

If you’re looking for an orthodontist in Fripp Island, SC, who is professional, trustworthy, and compassionate, look no further than Winning Orthodontic Smiles. Your pathway to a beautiful smile starts by selecting the orthodontic treatment option best suited for your needs.

Service Area

Invisalign Treatment

Invisalign® Treatment in Fripp Island, SC

Over the last few years, Invisalign® has become one of the most popular and effective orthodontic treatment options in South Carolina. For those looking for a convenient, comfortable, discreet way to realign their teeth, Invisalign® should be on your shortlist.

What Is Invisalign®?

Invisalign® is a treatment used by orthodontists in Fripp Island that straightens patients’ teeth without traditional braces. Invisalign® works using a succession of custom trays that cover your teeth, which gently pull them into proper alignment over time. Each custom tray brings your teeth closer to their final position. Treatment times vary depending on how severe your case is but typically don’t last longer than two years. Once treatment is complete, you may need a retainer for the longest-lasting results.

Since they are clear, most patients find Invisalign® less noticeable than traditional braces. Unlike metal braces, Invisalign® can be removed while eating, meaning patients don’t have to worry about damaging their trays with certain foods. Invisalign® is great for people of all ages and has become a top choice for teens and adults alike.

Invisalign® works well for patients who have:
  • Crooked teeth
  • Gapped or spaced teeth
  • Overcrowded teeth
  • Overbites, Underbites, and Crossbites

How Does Invisalign® Work?

Invisalign® works for most patients in a three-step process:
Initial Consultation

Initial Consultation

You will meet with your Invisalign orthodontist in Fripp Island, SC. During this consultation, your doctor will take a 3D digital scan of your teeth. From there, they will put together a comprehensive treatment plan customized to your needs. The best part? Before you leave, they will give you a sneak peek at your new smile using an innovative scanner.

First Fitting

First Fitting

During this step, your orthodontist will make sure that your custom aligners fit correctly. If you have any questions, this is the perfect time to ask. Before you leave, your doctor will let you know what to expect over the coming weeks and months. Treatment completion times will vary for patients, but you should see early results in just a few weeks. During this, you will check in regularly with your orthodontist.

Love Your Smile

Love Your Smile

Love Your Smile – Once your treatment is complete, it’s time to show off your new smile to as many people as possible! Be sure to ask your orthodontist if you will need to use a retainer to keep your teeth straight over the long haul. The last thing you want is for your teeth to shift gradually back into their original positions.

Invisalign® vs. Traditional Braces – Which is Right for You?

With so many great teeth straightening options available today, it can be hard to settle on a treatment choice. One of the most common questions we get revolves around which treatment is better: Invisalign® or traditional braces? The answer to that question is nuanced since every patient will have different needs. A younger patient with slightly crooked teeth might benefit from the discreet features of Invisalign®. On the other hand, an older patient with a severe underbite might benefit more from the reliability of traditional braces.

Invisalign® vs. Traditional Braces–Which is Right for You?
Keep in mind the following highlights, which will help you remain informed when doing your research:
Are They Removable? Invisalign® trays can be removed. Traditional braces cannon.
  • Treatment-Length-icon

    Treatment Length

    Invisalign® treatment can last anywhere from six months to two years. Treatment times for traditional braces can last from one to three years. Each time frame can vary depending on the patient’s individual case.

  • Orthodontic-Visits

    Orthodontic Visits:

    With Invisalign®, patients visit their Invisalign dentist in Fripp Island, SC, every three months. With traditional braces, patients can expect to visit every month or every other month.

  • Cleaning-icon

    Cleaning

    Regular brushing and flossing is recommended for patients using Invisalign®. A specialized floss threading tool and regular brushing and flossing are recommended for patients with traditional braces.

  • Benefits

    Benefits

    Invisalign® is discrete, comfortable, can be removed, and doesn’t require any food restrictions. Traditional braces offer consistent progress, are effective for severe cases, have time-tested reliability, and can be a good choice for cost-conscious shoppers.

Ready to learn more about Invisalign® in Fripp Island, SC? Give our office a call, and we would be happy to get you scheduled for your first consultation.

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Adult Orthodontic Treatment

Are you craving a beautiful smile but feel that you’re too old for braces? You wouldn’t be the only adult to have that thought. However, the truth is that 25% of our orthodontic patients are now adults. At Winning Orthodontic Smiles, you’re never too old for braces!

We want you to know that a healthy, stunning smile is attainable no matter what age you are. Our orthodontist in Fripp Island, SC, offers several treatments that are perfect for working adults and can help you decide if braces are right. If you decide that adult braces are the way to go, we have a number of options for you to consider. From traditional metal braces that offer time-tested results to more discreet options like Invisalign®, your new smile is more attainable than you might think. During your initial visit with our doctor, we will review all of your treatment options and help you choose the one you need for optimal results.

Adult Orthodontic Treatment

Benefits of Adult Braces

Most patients understand that a straighter smile is more aesthetic; however, not everyone knows that properly aligned teeth can improve your oral health. Here are just a few reasons why so many adults are optimizing their oral health with adult braces:

Benefits-of-Adult-Braces
More Confidence

More Confidence

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your teeth look, you’re not alone. Millions of adults around the U.S. aren’t happy with the way that their oral aesthetics. Adult braces help restore your confidence and can give you a smile that you’re proud to show off. When you like the way your teeth look, you’ll be more likely to smile. This simple act makes you feel happier, reduces stress, and can improve your mental health. Plus, it makes people around you feel great too.

Less Bad Breath

Less Bad Breath

Few things are as nasty as speaking to someone with bad breath. We’ve all been there, but it is never any less embarrassing when someone tries to subtlety offer you a mint for your breath. What most folks don’t know is that misaligned teeth and bad breath are often connected. That’s because when your teeth are crooked or over-crowded, bacteria can find their way in between your teeth. This is an area that most toothbrushes can’t reach. With time, that bacteria builds up, and your breath begins to stink. When left unchecked, these bacteria can cause serious health problems.

Better Oral Health

Better Oral Health

When you have poor oral health, there are a number of health risks that should concern you. Misaligned teeth can cause bacteria to build up. Over time, harmful bacteria cause serious problems like cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. Thankfully, orthodontic treatment can help you avoid severe tooth decay, gum recession, and bone loss. You can even reduce and prevent irregular tooth enamel loss pain associated with TMJ and TMD.

Enjoy More Foods

Enjoy More Foods

If you have never had a major problem with your teeth, you might not know that eating can be painful if you have misaligned teeth. This causes some patients to avoid foods that cause them pain. Adult braces can straighten your teeth and correct over and underbites for patients with severely crooked or crowded teeth. When you don’t have to worry about painful chewing or biting, you can experience the full joy of eating a delicious meal.

Improved Speech

Improved Speech

Having crooked teeth can make you feel self-conscious about your smile, but they can also affect how you pronounce certain words. If you’re having problems pronouncing words because your teeth are severely misaligned, adult braces can change your life. This is especially true for working professionals who speak publicly, take part in Zoom calls, and work over the phone. If this sounds like you, speak to our trusted Invisalign orthodontist in Fripp Island, SC, about discreet ways to improve your oral health and speech at the same time.

Early Orthodontic Treatment

Your child’s early and teen years are a great time to consider orthodontic treatment. According to The American Association of Orthodontists, the optimal time for a child to receive their first orthodontic treatment is by age seven. When you treat your child for braces early, you have the opportunity to discover and correct oral issues before they become serious. Doing so gives your child a leg-up on their peers and saves you time and money in the long run.

The overall goal of early orthodontic treatment is to intercept the possible issue, eliminate the cause, oversee facial and jawbone growth, and make sure there is enough space for adult teeth. Depending on how your child’s teeth develop, they may need a second course of treatment after their permanent teeth have formed.

Early Orthodontic Treatment

A few common orthodontic problems that may require treatment for children include:

  • Crossbites – this happens when your child’s jaw shifts to one side.
  • Underbites – this occurs when your child’s front lower teeth are ahead of their front upper teeth.
  • Excessively spaced teeth
  • Extremely crowded teeth
  • Extra teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Teeth that do not meet properly or don’t meet at all
  • Pacifier, finger, or thumb-sucking that affects your child’s jaw or teeth growth

The best way to learn whether your child will need early treatment is to speak with your orthodontist in Fripp Island, SC. Dr. Travis, Dr. Katie, and Dr. Gavin are trained to spot subtle problems, even in young children. During your child’s initial consultation, you can expect one of three outcomes:

  • There is a problem that early orthodontic treatment may correct.
  • Treatment may be necessary in the future. We’ll keep an eye on your child’s oral health while their face and jaw matures.
  • There is no treatment necessary at this stage.

Latest News in Fripp Island

COVID disrupted learning for thousands in Beaufort Co. How will schools close the gap?

Summer school, say those who were there, was “fun.”It was hands-on. Students did science experiments and met a beekeeper, food bank worker and conservationist.And it was productive. Students learned from each other, as happens when they’re in the same room, working together.In a lot of ways, the four-week summer program felt like a test run for fall.Every child was there in person, and the hallways were filled with shelves, books bought with federal COVID relief funds, and big, bright classroom r...

Summer school, say those who were there, was “fun.”

It was hands-on. Students did science experiments and met a beekeeper, food bank worker and conservationist.

And it was productive. Students learned from each other, as happens when they’re in the same room, working together.

In a lot of ways, the four-week summer program felt like a test run for fall.

Every child was there in person, and the hallways were filled with shelves, books bought with federal COVID relief funds, and big, bright classroom rugs with large circles on them — intended to be used as a seating chart so students can sit on the rug for reading time but still maintain a little bit of distance.

Despite a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Beaufort County, things are returning to normal in Beaufort County School District.

When school starts on Aug. 16, there won’t be an online-only option for elementary schoolers.

When school was online, children didn’t get to work together the way they would have in-person, said Norma Evans, an instructional coach and Coosa’s director of summer school. “And that affects learning.”

Jennifer Lyles, a teacher at Coosa, agreed.

“Even when you try to put them in those little groups on Zoom, you just don’t get as much from the kids (as you would) when they can literally talk,” she said.

Thursday was the last day of Beaufort County School District’s summer school program, renamed “summer discovery camp” for elementary schoolers.

Rising second-grader Sophia Holmes, who stayed fully remote for most of last school year, could sum up her favorite part of the experience pretty easily: “I like it here the most, because you can meet with your friends and play with them.”

Her classmate Deonna Green said she liked the virtual field trips that teacher Jennifer Lyles took them on to Fripp Island and the Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Center, especially when she got to see snakes.

Generally, summer school is offered to elementary students who score below grade level in English and math, or middle and high school students who need to retake classes.

In elementary school, the curriculum focuses on reading, especially understanding informational texts. In Lyles’ classroom, Deonna and Sophia were split into small groups that rotated among reading silently, working on phonics, spelling or reading aloud to the teacher.

Both girls got to take home books from their summer classes, many connected to the field trips and things they were learning in other subjects.

Face-to-face instruction won’t be new to most Coosa students. By the end of the school year, 85% of the school’s roughly 450 students were coming to the building for classes.

In some cases, Principal Melissa Pender was calling parents to tell them that remote classes weren’t working for their child.

“But that was a handful,” she said. “Predominantly it was them calling us, saying ‘this isn’t working, I’m not seeing my child progress academically like they have in the past.’ Or their work schedules changed.”

Among the 15% who stayed remote until the end of the year, some still showed up in-person for summer school, she said.

What will be new in the fall are the school’s slightly revised and relaxed COVID guidelines, in line with the rest of the district.

Pender sent an FAQ to teachers Wednesday outlining new rules: Can we use the cafeteria? (Yes, on a rotating system — not every class can eat there every day.) Will students or teachers have to wear masks? (No, unless they’re on the bus or going to the nurse’s office.) Can we be closer than three feet apart for group activities? (Yes, but only for short periods.)

Students still won’t be able to choose their own seats, and they’ll still have to take breaks to wipe down desks and wash their hands, Pender said.

She added that summer school hadn’t been disrupted at all by COVID outbreaks or quarantines, and that Coosa had only one large-scale quarantine during the school year, in a pre-kindergarten classroom.

“We might see a little bit less Plexiglass, but there’s not one safety measure that’s being dropped.”

Around 2,200 district students attended summer school this year — that’s more than 10% of the district’s total enrollment. It’s a 1,500-person increase from last summer and a 700-person increase from the pre-COVID 2019 summer program.

That number includes 765 elementary school students, 45 of which are at Coosa.

Qualifying for summer school means that they did not pass English language arts or math for the year, are third graders with reading proficiency below their grade level and/or scored in the bottom 30% of English language arts or math MAP testing in the spring.

State test scores from 2020-21 are not available until the fall, when the S.C. Department of Education releases its annual report cards, so it’s difficult to know how much learning loss Beaufort County’s students actually experienced during the pandemic.

But nationally, third- through fifth-grade students scored about 5% lower on spring MAP reading tests in 2021 than they did in 2019, and about 11% lower on math MAP tests, according to new data released by testing company NWEA.

Melissa Murray, the district’s director of literacy, said elementary schools were using a “Ramped-Up Read Aloud” program for summer school, with a focus on informational reading. Each field trip the kids went on was connected to a book they read in class and then took home.

Lyles, the teacher, said the program was a success. This is her fifth year teaching summer school, and this year has been “very hands-on, very engaging — the kids are retaining their learning week to week.”

Lyles had nine students, including Deonna and Sophia, in her summer class. Her classroom door was decorated with a big sign that reads “Lyles’ Super Learners!”

The walls were covered in bright posters of heroes and classroom expectations — Lyles plans to add even more, unlike last year, when teachers were told to limit wall decorations to prevent touching and germs.

She has a superhero dress ordered for her “meet the parents” night on Aug. 12, which will mark one of the first times since March 2020 that parents have been allowed past the school’s front office.

She was unmasked last week, as were five of her nine students. Plexiglass barriers separated the kids, but those will be optional when the school year begins Aug. 16.

Lyles is looking forward to a year without Zoom breakout rooms and the need to mute students’ videos. She said one of her favorite things as a teacher is when a student gets up to show another student something they remember from an old lesson.

“It happened this morning,” she said. “I had a kid say ‘how do you spell this?’ And a kid said ‘oh, it’s like this, I learned this yesterday.’ And that’s what you don’t get virtually.”

'New level of stupid': Visitors harass 11-foot alligator at this Beaufort County resort

You never ever want to feed an alligator.When alligators are fed by humans, they associate humans as a food resource, which makes them aggressive.But despite state laws and efforts to educate the public, people — including tourists and locals — still continue to do it.On Friday, Fripp Island...

You never ever want to feed an alligator.

When alligators are fed by humans, they associate humans as a food resource, which makes them aggressive.

But despite state laws and efforts to educate the public, people — including tourists and locals — still continue to do it.

On Friday, Fripp Island Resort Activity Center reported that visitors threw carrots at a mature 11-foot alligator.

“This is a new level of stupid,” the resort activity center posted Friday on Facebook. “By giving these awesome prehistoric predators space, we can live along side them.”

The perpetrators who threw the carrots were lucky because the alligator didn’t respond to the harassment and “later slunk back into the water once the sun started going down,” Fripp Island naturalist Jessica Miller said.

“But, this gator could have interpreted the tossed items as food and learned people are a source of food,” Miller said. “Once that behavior is observed, the gator has to be caught and put down before that nuisance behavior turns into an attack on a person.

“That would be such a shame for this big dude,” Miller said of the large gator that is currently sharing a pond with his “girlfriend” and hatchlings from last year.

Fripp Island Resort Activity Center said this behavior of feeding or throwing food at alligators “will not be tolerated.”

“Fripp Island Security has a description of the people responsible and is on the lookout,” the Facebook post said. “The fine for harassing an alligator is $200... That's $200 per carrot in this case.”

Violators could also face up to 30 days in jail for feeding alligators if convicted, according to South Carolina state law. Only 16 tickets have been written in Beaufort County between 2012 and March 2017 for violating alligator codes, while 143 tickets throughout the state were issued during that time period. Feeding is the most common alligator code violation SCDNR officials see reported.

Miller said Saturday morning that security had not caught the people responsible. Security had to guard the gator Friday to keep people from harassing him.

Fripp Island, an island off of Beaufort, is known for its exotic wildlife, including this famous 12-foot gator that calls the resort community home.

"Many of our big gators have no response to humans other than to slink away when they get too close," Miller said. "But, the closer people get to him, the more habituated he will get to them and it will become more likely that this gator acts out of defense."

South Carolina alligators move more in the springtime, as they make their way into warmer waters after hibernating during the winter, and their movement patterns change as it gets closer to mating season. But that's no reason to worry, experts say.

"These animals are really simple," Miller said. "They like to be in their water or bask right by it. We just need to stay back. When they do move pond to pond, the big ones like this know exactly where they are going, and their destination is the only thing on their mind."

Alligator attacks are extremely rare in South Carolina. Wildlife experts say that most alligator attacks occur when humans behave irresponsibly by feeding, poking, or swimming near alligators.

“Since 1976 there have only been 20 incidents that we’re aware of,” Jay Butfiloski, certified wildlife biologist for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, told the Island Packet last year.

This story was originally published April 7, 2018 1:55 PM.

What’s the best beach in South Carolina? Here’s what locals say.

Stretching 187 miles, the South Carolina coastline is one of the most beloved features of this state.That’s why we should’ve known, when we asked you to tell us where to find South Carolina’s best beaches, the tea would be boiling hot.There’s simply no universal favorite here. No beach, nor region, in our very unscientific poll, received a clear majority of your praise. Of course, even if we did try to tell you what the best beach in South Carolina is, we would probably be starting statewide warfare....

Stretching 187 miles, the South Carolina coastline is one of the most beloved features of this state.

That’s why we should’ve known, when we asked you to tell us where to find South Carolina’s best beaches, the tea would be boiling hot.

There’s simply no universal favorite here. No beach, nor region, in our very unscientific poll, received a clear majority of your praise. Of course, even if we did try to tell you what the best beach in South Carolina is, we would probably be starting statewide warfare.

Here’s what you told us you love about South Carolina’s beaches. Let this be your summertime sand guide. For longtime residents, maybe it’ll encourage you to try a beach you’ve never been to. For newbies and tourists, use this to plan your summer outings.

There’s a lot of sand to visit.

Almost every beach along the coast had at least a few spots families loved to visit, so we narrowed them down to the most popular places people said they brought their kin.

Here are the top four.

Hidden about an hour south of Charleston, Edisto Beach was the biggest favorite among people looking for a quiet place to go (great spot for families, too).

“NO NEON!!! Quiet, peaceful, relaxing, beautiful,” Robert Owens told us.

Farther north, Litchfield and Pawleys Island were prized for their calm atmosphere and lack of crowds. Some stretches of sand in those areas are limited to residents, but there are still plenty of access points for the public.

Cherry Grove sits as close to North Carolina as one can get without actually crossing the border. It was the most popular beach in the Grand Strand for our respondents. People loved it for how much space it provides and the (usual) lack of crowds.

“Large expanse of sand, quiet, great place to find sand dollars and seashells, and fabulous sunrises and sunsets. Waites Island across the inlet that is even more quiet and a great spot for a picnic after a kayak trip!” said Susan Wesmiller. Visiting Cherry Grove has been a family tradition for her for 30 years.

On the north end of North Myrtle Beach, Cherry Grove is still close to plenty of restaurants and hotels, making staying and visiting there easy, residents and visitors wrote.

“Love that I don’t have to walk a mile to get from the parking lot” to the beach, Brenda Zumbaum said.

Folly Beach, in the Charleston area, was complimented for its laid-back environment, and in particular, its surfing. (Riding the waves requires a chill beach, doesn’t it?)

Hilton Head Island was also a heavy favorite for surfing.

“VERY WIDE, SMALL CROWDS, GOO(D) SURF,” Charles H. and Norma L. Wood wrote, rather enthusiastically.

Hunting Island, located across the bay from Edisto Beach, held a similar appeal for many respondents. In particular, the Boneyard Beach, where hundreds of trees felled by erosion create an eerie landscape, stands out to longtime visitor Merranda Michels.

“Hunting Island is the most beautiful and peaceful beach in SC,” she wrote. “During the day, we enjoy time on the beach looking for shells and finding all kinds, including sand dollars and hermit crabs. They have a lighthouse and the boneyard, which is dead trees that rest peacefully on the beach with their dried roots still attached. At night, you can see every star in the sky as well as many shooting stars.”

Beaufort resident Emily Hulsey said she visits the beach, which is “in our backyard,” often. She also frequently camps there and said it is “devoid of oppressive crowds found at other beaches.”

Scott French said he and his wife spent “many warm days” on Sullivan’s Island when they were first dating and attending the College of Charleston. They fell in love with the beach and each other.

“Those memories are so special to us we named our son Sullivan,” he said.

Not everyone wanted to tell us what the best beach is, preferring to keep it all to themselves. (Understandable.)

“I am not telling you what’s the best beach in S.C. because then everyone would go there, and it wouldn’t be the best beach anymore,” Carl Roberts said.

Melvin Poole said Atlantic Beach, the only one he could visit during segregation, is still his favorite decades later. The city has long been the heart of the Grand Strand’s Black community, hosting events like Black Bike Week every Memorial Day.

Kiawah Island is great for dolphin viewing, several people said. It also hosts some of the biggest golf tournaments in the nation.

“The beaches are beautiful!” Parker Merritt said. “They are never crowded and you can always find a quiet spot to enjoy a good book, plenty of space to fish if you’d like to take your reel out there, and easy going waves for kids to enjoy. The wildlife there is stunning, too! You can see dolphins strand feeding and hang out with the turtle patrol in the early mornings.”

On Hilton Head Island, Coligny Beach was the most popular destination. Residents and tourists told us that they prided it for the ease of access, cleanliness and proximity to businesses.

“You can be on the beautiful beach and away from it all, while still being just a short walk away from several great restaurants and bars,” Pat Sheley said.

Isle of Palms, near Mount Pleasant, is a “very pristine” beach, Sherene Chavous said. Others said they love it because of how close it is to downtown Charleston. Bored at the beach? Go paint the town.

At least one person, we’re not going to say who, isn’t a fan of South Carolina’s beaches.

“They’re all dumps. No waves and dirty water.”

This story was originally published May 27, 2021 1:00 AM.

‘Amazing’ bridge over Harbor River opens, but what about the old one?

A new, $77 million bridge over the Harbor River opened to traffic Monday, called an engineering feat at 3,000 feet long and 65 feet high — the state’s largest project in its 10-year bridge replacement plan.“This is an amazing bridge,” said Christy Hall, South Carolina’s Department of Transportation secretary as state and local officials gathered on its deck to mark its opening to traffic Monday afternoon....

A new, $77 million bridge over the Harbor River opened to traffic Monday, called an engineering feat at 3,000 feet long and 65 feet high — the state’s largest project in its 10-year bridge replacement plan.

“This is an amazing bridge,” said Christy Hall, South Carolina’s Department of Transportation secretary as state and local officials gathered on its deck to mark its opening to traffic Monday afternoon.

The new, modern Harbor River Bridge on U.S. 21 is the only land bridge connecting the mainland and Harbor, Hunting and Fripp islands. It was designed and constructed by Great Falls-based United Infrastructure Group.

Hall said it’s tall for a reason: It will allow shrimp boats to pass easily underneath.

And it replaces a structurally deficient and functionally obsolete 82-year-old swing-span bridge that had provided the only means for vehicular transportation from the mainland to the islands.

Average daily traffic over the river is 6,200 vehicles, according to SCDOT.

Hall noted that U.S. 21 serves as a critical hurricane evacuation route for coastal Beaufort County, and the old bridge had experienced washouts and damage during prior hurricane seasons.

The new bridge is the latest piece of the state’s plan to replace hundreds of structurally deficient bridges across the state, Hall said.

“The panoramic view is just astounding,” state Sen. George E. “Chip” Campsen III, R-Charleston, said from the middle of the bridge overlooking St. Helena Sound and the Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin.

Campsen noted that the old swing bridge will be removed and utilized as an artificial reef 55 miles offshore which will improve fisheries habitat.

And discussions are underway to use the decks of the bridge in near-shore reefs as well, Campsen said.

Construction began in April 2019. The project faced permitting, design and construction challenges, not to mention a pandemic and hurricane, but still was completed 60 days ahead of schedule, said Jim Triplett, CEO of United Infrastructure Group.

“How often does that happen?” Triplett said.

The new bridge has two 12-foot-wide traffic lanes, in addition to 10-foot-wide shoulders, compared to the old bridge, which had two, 11-foot-wide lanes with no shoulders, said Billy Hardwick, United Infrastructure Group’s project manager.

Demolition of the old bridge will begin Tuesday, Triplett said.

This story was originally published April 26, 2021 4:11 PM.

‘Magnificent’: 12-foot alligator stops traffic in Hilton Head gated community

Caution: It’s alligator crossing season on Hilton Head Island.Bonnie Gutman shared a photo of a 12-foot alligator crossing Seabrook Drive in Hilton Head Plantation on May 10.Cars kept their distance approaching the massive alligator.The animal moved rather quickly across the road, Gutman said, and she and others yielded for only a minute or two.“A friend suggests that this photo be a reminder to all that we share our environment with critters great and small, and that we need to be in awe of them, as w...

Caution: It’s alligator crossing season on Hilton Head Island.

Bonnie Gutman shared a photo of a 12-foot alligator crossing Seabrook Drive in Hilton Head Plantation on May 10.

Cars kept their distance approaching the massive alligator.

The animal moved rather quickly across the road, Gutman said, and she and others yielded for only a minute or two.

“A friend suggests that this photo be a reminder to all that we share our environment with critters great and small, and that we need to be in awe of them, as well as very careful around these many different and magnificent species,” she shared with The Island Packet.

Spring is mating season for the American Alligator, so you’re more likely to see males moving among lagoons to meet their mates between late March and early June.

Alligators, native to Hilton Head and the Lowcountry, can grow to 12 feet or longer. They are often found sunning on the sides of ponds or lagoons. The animals are ectothermic, meaning they rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature.

If you come across one, keep your distance. Approaching or feeding an alligator is one of the worst things you can do — for you and the animal — according to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

When alligators associate humans with food, they’re more likely to come toward them and be perceived as threatening. When they’re removed from backyards, properties or lagoons, they’re often euthanized.

Here are some tips for avoiding alligators during mating season:

If you’re approached by an alligator, wildlife expert Corbin Maxey told Business Insider that you should back away without turning your back on the alligator.

If you’re being bitten by an alligator, Maxey said, do not attempt to pry open the animal’s jaws. Instead, attack the animal’s sensitive snout and hit its eyes.

Most importantly, Maxey said, don’t play dead. Ideally, you’d stay out of the animal’s territory in the first place, he said.

If an alligator does not appear aggressive, keep your distance; leave the animal alone in nearly all circumstances.

When an alligator begins to threaten people or pets, it may be time to discuss the gator’s removal with the SCDNR.

SCDNR’s helpline, (800) 922-5431, will connect you with a biologist and help you determine the next steps, according to agency spokesperson David Lucas.

Not all alligators have to be removed and euthanized. Community security guards sometimes relocate small alligators to other lagoons in the same neighborhood.

This story was originally published May 26, 2021 10:40 AM.

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