Portion of Savannah Hwy. drainage project breaking ground in West Ashley

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 5:45 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 2, 2023 at 9:12 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Residents in the Avondale and Byrnes Downs area will soon be able to walk to commercial areas regardless of the weather.

City of Charleston officials say a new drainage project breaking ground this week will decrease sidewalk flooding, reconnecting the commercial district with area neighborhoods.

This portion of the Savannah Highway Sidewalk Drainage Improvement Project is located between Nicholson Street and Campbell Drive.

Charleston Stormwater Management Director Matthew Fountain said this is an area where the sidewalk drops below the road, and live oak trees push up on the sidewalk, making it hard to drain.

He said ponds form on the sidewalk up to three to four inches even in normal rainstorms, filling yards with water and preventing people from using the sidewalk.

“We think of flooding generally as what’s impacting transportation, emergency vehicle access, or what’s structurally impacting peoples’ homes. But the ability for people to move on sidewalks is also a wonderful thing that the city has been focused on over the last few years,” Fountain said.

He said they plan to remove parts of the uplifted sidewalk and eroded infrastructure and install underdrains, a type of pipe that won’t damage the roots of the oak trees in the area. Once completed, residents can expect much less ponding and much faster drainage.

Russell Peck, who lives in Byrnes Downs, said he has noticed flooding problems throughout the neighborhood and is looking forward to the improvements.

I do think it’s a great neighborhood, I just think that, obviously it’s older, and with it being older there’s some wear and tear, so I just think having infrastructure updates here and there is always going to be important to helping this community continue to grow,” Peck said.

Fountain said he expects the project to take about one month to complete. He said there will be no long-term lane closures, but residents should look out for sidewalk closure notices and detours.