CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Mayor Joe Riley announced on Friday that funding in the amount of $25 million has been made available to allow the city to move forward with the second phase of the U.S. 17/Septima Clark Transportation Improvement Project.
The project is designed to alleviate flooding on the highway. The South Carolina Department of Transportation Commission approved the city's application on Thursday in the amount of $12.5 million as part of the federal 50/50 match program. The city will match the federal funds with an additional $12.5 million towards the project, for a total of $25 million.
According to city officials, the new funding will allow for the continuation of the current construction, funded by the U.S. DOT TIGER Program and an additional $2 million that the City of Charleston contributed.
The new $25 million funding will allow for improvements along U.S. 17/Septima Clark Parkway and sections of President Street, Fishburne Street, and Ashley Avenue. The second phase of the project, when combined with the U.S. 17/Septima Clark TIGER project, will complete the upgrades to the transportation and surface collection infrastructure from bridge-to-bridge, connecting U.S. 17 traffic between crossings of the Cooper and Ashley Rivers and also providing a connection between Interstate 26 and all other areas west of the Ashley River.
Improvements will be concentrated along a route where U.S. 17 travels along Spring Street and Cannon Street as it passes through a heavily commercialized corridor on the western side of the Peninsula.
The second phase of the project will incorporate a new surface storm water collection and conveyance system, reengineering and improvements to the conventional storm water drainage system to more effectively direct flows off the highway, the redesign of the roadway cross-section to increase highway accessibility, traffic efficiency, and safety to vehicular and pedestrian traffic, new ADA compliant sidewalks, access and crosswalks to improve pedestrian movement and access to public transportation, and improve street lighting for improved vehicular and pedestrian safety.
The project will also include improvements along President Street between Cannon Street and Fishburne Street where drainage infrastructure will be rebuilt to accommodate larger drainage structures. Additionally, a section of Fishburne Street, between President Street and Ashley Avenue, as well as a section of Ashley Avenue north of Fishburne Street will receive improvements in terms of drainage infrastructure, extending and reinforcing the penetration of transportation and drainage improvements into the residential area and access to public housing, recreational areas, and schools.
Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. said, "The $25 million funding for the second phase of the U.S. 17/Septima Clark Transportation Improvement Project represents a significant milestone and substantial progress in achieving the ultimate solution to fixing the flooding on the Crosstown."
With this new $25 million funding package, the city will be able to begin Phase II of the project in 2012, thereby increasing the drainage infrastructure and transportation system in the area. The third and largest phase of the project involves the tunnels and shafts system, along with the pump station and wet-well, outfall, and the pump station mechanical systems. The city has applied to the South Carolina Infrastructure Bank for financial assistance to complete the final phases of the project.