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Construction project in downtown Charleston behind schedule

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

Construction in downtown Charleston is behind schedule.

Work at the intersection of Cannon and President streets, part of a multi-million dollar drainage project, was supposed to be finished in March; but the end is in sight.

If you’re within about a four block radius of Cannon and President streets,you’ll see signs like “Road Closed” and “Detour.”

That’s because there’s a mass of equipment right at that intersection.

This construction is all a part of Phase 2 of the Spring/Fishburne Drainage Improvement Project. The goal is to help with drainage issues.

"When we get a moderate to heavy rainfall, at high tide, water has trouble getting through the system and out into one of the rivers,” Steve Kirk, the Senior Engineering Project Manager, said. “This project will collect the water from the streets, put it into a deep tunnel, essentially a conveyance system. It’s going to convey it to a pump station which is going to be between the Ashley River Bridges – and that’s going to pump it out.”

Kirk said the water will be able to be pumped against high tide – helping the flooding in the downtown area.

This phase is a couple of months behind schedule though. One of the reasons– rain.

"When you have rain, it not only affects what's happening right there – but because we're low, you then have to get rid of the water. It also makes the soils very difficult to work with when they're wet. So, it's not just the day that rain occurs that delays us – it's also the cleanup work afterwards,” Kirk added.

Crews are expected to be done with this phase of the project by the end of June.

“We do realize that this project is very inconvenient. Construction work is messy, it’s noisy, it’s very disruptive. But in the end, I think we’re going to get a very good project that’s going to help alleviate a lot of these problems that we encounter on a regular basis,” Kirk said.

This is just one of the multi-phase, multi-million dollar project.

Timeline:
Kirk said the concept of the project began in 1998.

Preliminary design began in 2006 and that finished in 2009.

This project is costing more than $150 million and Kirk said it took a while to secure funding. Once that was in place – Phase 1 began in 2011. Phase 2 began in 2015. Phase 3 started in 2016. Kirk hopes Phase 4 will start next year and then in 2020 crews will start on Phase 5. The completion of the whole project is expected in 2021.

Funding:
Kirk said the funding for the project is coming from multiple places. Phase 1 came from a TIGER grant from the Federal Highway Administration. Phase 2 has a 50/50 federal match – the city will pay half and SCDOT will pay half. Phases 3 and 4 are funded through the State Infrastructure Bank. Phase 5 is through the city.
 
To learn more about the entire project, you can go here.
 
To learn more about the specific phases and the work that still needs to be completed, go here.

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