Peninsula storm surge project receives federal authorization to move forward
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A planned $1.3 billion project to help control storm surge on the Charleston peninsula has received key approval from the federal government, allowing it to move into its next phase.
President Joe Biden has signed off on this approval as part of the year-end omnibus from December 2022.
The project was one of 26 the federal government authorized, and city officials said they’re looking to use the Low Battery as a design feature for this project.
Chief Resilience Officer Dale Morris said the city is negotiating a design agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers for a section running from the Citadel to the U.S. Coast Guard Station off Murray Boulevard.
The agreement lays out the roles and responsibilities of the city and Army Corps, who Project Manager Wes Wilson called a “high priority” for the Corps.
The entire project will be cost shared, with 65% of the money coming from the federal government, and the city picking up the remaining cost.
Officials said the day before Hurricane Ian made landfall, models suggested it would have been the second-highest storm surge in the city’s history if it hit the peninsula.
They said the models predicted only five blocks of Calhoun Street would have been dry while some parts would have been several feet underwater.
“Hurricane Ian was a rather weak storm when it was tracking up the Atlantic side,” Morris said. “It was a devastating storm in Florida, rather weak when it crossed Florida and back into the South Atlantic, so with such a small storm driving that much storm surge, we have to think about what future storms will look like.”
Morris said it will be a minimum of four to six months before a potential agreement could be brought to council for a vote.
With that agreement, it’s expected that several million dollars’ worth of funding will be included.
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