Perry Bridges on York Street in the running for more honors

September 3, 2018

The award-winning Robert S. “Skipper” Perry Jr. Bridges on York Street in Aiken are in the running to receive more honors.

The South Carolina Department Transportation project that created them is a finalist for the national Grand Prize and the Socrata People’s Choice Award in the 11th annual America’s Transportation Awards competition.

Previously, the project was a winner in the competition’s Southeast region. It was recognized among the small construction projects costing less than $25 million in the Best Use of Technology and Innovation category.

The sponsors of America’s Transportation Awards are the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, or AASHTO, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Automobile Association and Socrata, a software company.

This year, 35 state departments of transportation nominated 79 projects for consideration. The three highest-scoring projects in each of the four regional contests are the 12 national finalists.

The winners of the national Grand Prize and the People’s Choice Award each will receive $10,000 that can be donated to a nonprofit or used to fund a transportation-related scholarship in their home states.

An independent panel of transportation industry experts will select the national Grand Prize winner. But voting by the general public at americastransportationawards.org will determine the winner of the Socrata People’s Choice Award.

Individuals can vote once per day until 11:59 p.m. Sept. 22.

The winners of the two honors will be announced Sept. 23 during AASHTO’s Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

In February 2016, the South Carolina Department of Transportation, or SCDOT, closed the old wooden bridges on York Street to traffic because of concerns about their safety.

Work on the project to replace them with wood and steel structures started in September 2016. The new 70-foot, single-span bridges were opened to traffic in June 2017.

Their location on York Street is in an area between Colleton and Park avenues.

They are named for a former state representative and Aiken City Council member.

Skipper Perry, who also served as Aiken’s mayor pro tempore, was the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce’s Man of the Year in 2016.

He died on June 18, 2017, two days after attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the new York Street bridges.

The Aiken County Legislative Delegation later sent a letter to SCDOT asking the agency to remember Perry’s contributions as a public servant by giving the bridges on York Street his name.

A ceremony to dedicate and bless the bridges was held in February of this year.

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