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After Historic South Carolina Floods, Stretch of Interstate 95 Finally Reopens

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Authorities reopened a key southbound stretch of Interstate 95 through South Carolina on Monday, more than a week after an historic storm dumped as much as 2 feet of rain that shut off the main East Coast highway from Miami to Maine.

The state Transportation Department said Monday that 13 miles of southbound lanes were open again to traffic and that the northbound lanes were expected to reopen late Monday or early Tuesday.

Image: South Carolina Hit By Historic Rain And Flooding
The Army National Guard transports residents in the Browns Ferry community October 11, 2015 near Georgetown, South Carolina. The state of South Carolina experienced record rainfall amounts over a week ago and the floodwaters continue to affect communities as they move out to sea. Sean Rayford / Getty Images

The busy interstate had been closed for more than a week, causing delays and motorist headaches while crews checked 13 bridges crossing streams and swamps in the middle part of the state.

The department says crews spent about 4,000 man hours repairing the spans while divers also checked on the repairs.

The closing forced drivers to take an almost 170-mile detour to the state capitol of Columbia instead of the normal 75-mile drive along the interstate from Interstate 26 to Interstate 20.

In recent days the detour has resulted in traffic delays on another interstate southeast of Columbia, the state capital city flooded in many parts by the days of rain.

While the interstate is reopening, parts of about 225 state roads remained closed Monday morning because of recent flooding. In additional almost 100 bridges are closed either because of flooding or so they can be checked for damage.

The Transportation Department also said that, beginning Monday, it will begin removing debris from four counties hard-hit by the storm.

Rain-swollen rivers in eastern South Carolina are finally beginning to recede.

In Columbia, the city continues the laborious process of repairing its water system where the storm breached a canal that holds the city's water supply.

On Sunday, the city lifted a boil water advisory for water customers in some of the city's northern and northwestern suburbs. City officials hope the advisory can be lifted for all the systems 375,000 customers in the next week or so.