City gets $88 million for completion of Crosstown drainage project

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - No more flooding on the Crosstown and a better quality of life for Charlestonians. That is what Charleston Mayor Joe Riley says will happen after the state infrastructure bank gave the OK for $88 million in funding for the Crosstown drainage project.

The city now has enough money to ensure the project will be finished in a timely manner. Riley says getting the money was one of his most important goals during his last term.

"I would like to thank the State Infrastructure Bank for this funding which will enable us to complete this most important $154 million project," Mayor Riley said."When completed, local residents and homeowners, churches, our very important hospitals and schools, and motorists who travel the roadway will find safe and dry passage across this part of the peninsula, and our neighborhoods here will no longer flood."

Riley says the drainage project will solve flooding, blocked roads and traffic problems that plague the Crosstown area. With the funding approval, residents can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"We're excited, truly excited," said Cecelia Rogers. "Because it affects us in this neighborhood."

Rodgers is the principal at Charleston Developmental Academy on Line Street. When it rains she says it's impossible for parents to drop off or pick up their kids from school.

"Parents can't get in, children can't leave, staff can't go home," Rodgers said.

Line Street and the school's parking lot are all under water after heavy rain. The school even invested in a washer and dryer because some kids will walk through the flood water to get to school.

"We did whatever we had to do," Rodgers said.

Riley says the wait is over and thanks to the people dedicated to getting the funding for the project life will be a lot better for those living and traveling down US 17.

"The quality of living in the neighborhoods will be enhanced because the drainage challenges of this highway will no longer exist," Riley said.

The project will cost $154 million total. The first phase was already paid for by $10 million in federal money. The SCDOT provided a $25 million 50/50 grant where the city had to match half of that. That leaves only $20 million left to pay. Riley says it will be taken care of by city and federal dollars.

"The project will produce jobs for our citizens and great benefits for the safety and capacity of the Septima Clark Parkway, which helps every citizen and business that depends on the Crosstown Expressway, including the Port of Charleston," Mayor Riley said.

Riley says he made sure the project made the Crosstown section of downtown Charleston beautiful as well as functional, with a grass median, sidewalks and pedestrian crosswalks.

Copyright WCSC 2012. All rights reserved.