The Scariest Bridge in South Carolina Will Make You White-Knuckle the Steering Wheel

The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge lit up at night in Charleston South Carolina.
© BAndersonphoto/

Written by Isaac Peterson

Published: November 20, 2023

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Alligators in Huntington Beach State Park, South Carolina

Bridges in the Tar Heel State can be sketchy for a number of reasons, such as crocodile crossings like we see here!

©robert c. mosher/

The I-85 bridge over Laurel Creek in Greenville, SC, has gotten much attention. This bridge is often cited as an instance of much-needed highway repairs in the state. Fortunately, the state is on it with plans to fix the nearby Laurens Road and Greenville County roads. They’re getting some better funding. Soon it will hopefully no longer be the scariest bridge in South Carolina.

Nonetheless, this road is cited in numerous places as the most dangerous in the Tar Heel State. But why?

Laurel Creek Bridge and Its Designation

Greenville News links to what appears to be a third-party data provider. This data provider cites a National Bridge Inventory report listing Laurel Creek Bridge in Greenville, SC, as being in “fair” condition. The last inspection was done in August 2022. The overall structural evaluation is listed as 5. “5: Somewhat better than minimum adequacy to tolerate being left in place as is.”

According to the NIB report, some parts of the bridge are adequate. A few are even above average, and one got a ZERO rating which makes sense for the scariest bridge in South Carolina. The report notes some potential hazards related to the waterways, presumably referring to Laurel Creek. Perhaps the creek bed has rehydrated in recent years? (The most current satellite photos appear to show Laurel Creek as a dirt path!)

However, the eye-opener for the bridge inspection report is the “Approach Guardrail” which got a zero. “0: Inspected feature does not meet currently acceptable standards or a safety feature is required and none is provided.”

Other Factors Determining the Scariest Bridge in South Carolina

There are many structurally deficient bridges near Laurel Creek. Zooming out on Greenville News’ Bridge Inspection Map service, within a few square miles of Laurel Creek, there are at least 14 bridges with a bright red icon indicating they need to be fixed or modified. About six are marked as meeting the bare minimum safety requirements, and the rest are at or above them.

All these dodgy bridges mean Laurel Creek is in the bullseye of a neighborhood of deteriorating bridges. As such, the statistics likely reflect this spot on a map as a concentration of bridges needing repair. Hence the likely origin of the designation. There are a good number of needy bridges in six specific counties in South Carolina.

A South Carolina traffic fatalities database shows dozens of deaths on nearby roadways—most of the deaths are pedestrian, automobile, and motorcycle—over the last 35 years.


Garden at Falls Park on the Reedy River in downtown Greenville, South Carolina.

Garden of the Falls in downtown Greenville, SC is along the Reedy, the main river for which Laurel Creek is a tributary.


Greenville is the county seat of Greenville County, South Carolina. The county is home to several local or South Carolina-designated natural preserves; there are at least a dozen of the latter. The Tall Pines area is vital to the region’s waterways. It is involved in fish hatchery for the South Saluda River. Another river in the area is the Reedy River, which has a tributary that forms Laurel Creek.

Tall Pines is also a hunting ground with white-tailed deer, turkeys, and black bears.

Slow Down and Go Easy Over It

Laurel Creek Bridge, a once sketchy overpass, is getting some attention, so there will be no more white-knuckling it over a ravine. Its neighboring bridges will hopefully get the same attention soon as well.

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About the Author

Isaac began writing as a paid staff reporter for his college newspaper. After getting his B.A. in Divinity, he was a daycare teacher who emphasized God's natural world, and all the creatures, into his learning activities. He worked as Staff Writer for a Midwest-based global online retailer before going full-time freelance. As a solo writer, he's covered gray wolf sightings in the Southwest U.S., smart home upgrades to backyard chicken coops, training American bulldogs and countless other topics, animal and otherwise; especially technical writing. Since his childhood in northern New England, he's been hooked on the beauty of this earth and the outdoors. Isaac loves biking, running, snowboarding, skateboarding and hiking in all of it. In his new home of the Great Lakes, he's spotted numerous herons, rabbits, squirrels, deer, a few toads and at least one turtle on his trail runs. He especially enjoys talking critters with his little sister who loves all animals big and small from giant orcas to her own pet beagle (Mister B).

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