CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Flooding problems on Septima Clark Parkway, more commonly known as the Crosstown, are a step closer to being solved. Work on the project started in late May. Mayor Joe Riley toured the construction site and updated the public on the progress.
Eric Nelson lives downtown and travels the Crosstown regularly, and for years has dealt with the flooding problem.
"It's terrible, you have to make plans to go all the way around to get one place, it's dangerous," Nelson said.
It's been a major issue for years, but after a grant from the federal stimulus, the city is now digging into the first phase of the project to fix the problem.
"This is the first phase of an $11.3 million construction project that was awarded to a local contractor, OL Thompson Construction Company," Mayor Riley said.
Mayor Riley says so far crews have replaced a portion of old 18 inch clay pipes to much larger 48 inch pipes, and when complete a total of 5500 feet of new drainage pipes will be installed beneath Bogard and President Streets.
"It will give some relief because 48 inch pipe collects a lot more water than an 18 inch pipe, so immediately, when this work is done, if there is rain, the system will work better than it has," Mayor Riley said.
In addition to new piping, existing piping will be cleaned, some resurfacing will be done, and a new median, more curbing, and new sidewalks will be constructed.
Despite the temporary road blocks, the project is welcome news to residents.
"Oh yeah really because it's a sanitary problem to, the biggest part it's just nasty, the sewage come out, it's just not clean," Nelson said.
This phase of the Septima Clark project is set to be complete by November of next year. Eventually project planners expect three additional phases when the funding becomes available, and it will include a new surface water collection system, tunnels, shafts, and a storm water pumping station. The whole project expected to cost $146 million dollars when complete.
Some road closures will take place in the coming weeks as construction for drainage improvement continues. Bogard Street from the Crosstown to President Street will remain closed until Tuesday July 26th. President Street from Crosstown to Bogard Street will be closed starting Monday until Wednesday August 10th. Detour routes will be marked.