Stormwater pipe repairs underway for downtown streets in Ian’s aftermath

Stormwater pipe repairs are underway in downtown Charleston after some areas were damaged by Hurricane Ian.
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 5:28 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2022 at 7:48 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Some areas in downtown Charleston are undergoing repairs after remnants of Hurricane Ian brought damage to some areas prone to flooding.

One such area, the intersection of Rutledge Avenue and Broad Street, is a relatively busy intersection where a stormwater pipe repair is underway. The work began last Wednesday and is expected to be complete by Thanksgiving Day. Drivers traveling west will still be able to travel on Broad Street during the repair, but drivers traveling east on Broad Street will detour around Colonial Lake.

Mathew Fountain, the director of Stormwater Repair for the city of Charleston, says these repairs are more common in the fall after hurricane season comes through. He says the city learned of the damage during a routine inspection before Tropical Storm Nicole and saw flooding in the area they were not used to seeing.

In the worst case, if the pipe remained broken, it would collapse and could ultimately create a sinkhole and impact the street. But in this case, Fountain says they are able to see the streets most affected by hurricane season by tracking them every year.

“In a typical year we have a pretty good handle on what will happen,” Fountain says. “We have that budgeted into our department operations account and then we have contractors we work with who are used to doing this type of work and repairs in kind of the difficult downtown environment especially. And we’ll see repairs in the outline areas too right in West Ashley, James Island, and Johns Island.”

Fountain says the upside is that the drainage should improve in the area following the repair work. He says the city is also continuing its work on current projects such as the Low Battery Seawall Repair and the U.S 17 Spring/Fishburne Drainage Improvement Project. Both project areas experience regular, significant flooding with the end goal of alleviating many of the flooding problems in the infrastructure and streets.