Work continues on massive projects to relieve flooding on peninsula

Work continues on massive projects to relieve flooding on peninsula
Published: Jun. 17, 2014 at 11:05 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - There's a lot of work happening in the city of Charleston to relieve flooding on the peninsula.

Crews are putting the finishing touches on the storm water tunnels under Market Street.

But the massive Crosstown project still has nearly six years to go.

"Drainage has been an issue for Charleston since it was founded. Most of the areas that flood were old creek beds," said Laura Cabiness, city director of public service.

This includes Market Street. Cabiness says those tunnels are now lined with concrete.

Cabiness said, "All the tunnels been complete for a while now and it's been tied into the pump station."

Cabiness says the third and final stage of the project will start by the end of the year.

Old storm drains will be replaced and more work will be done above ground.

"We don't really know how long that work's going to take. It will depend on how much we can do at a time. We've got to be very sensitive to the merchants in the Market and the visitors to the Market," said Cabiness.

That familiar sight of knee deep water during heavy rain won't be gone until phase three is done.

"Until we can have a way to get the water into the tunnel efficiently, it won't make a big change," said Cabiness.

Cabiness says the Market Street project has also given them the chance to inspect the tunnel under Marion Square.

"We're going to actually walk through the tunnel and check on its condition," said Cabiness.

Over at the Crosstown work continues on phase two of that massive project.

"What people will see there is more surface work like they saw with the first phase, except it's going to extend up President Street, up Fishburne Street, up Ashley Avenue," said Cabiness.

Cabiness say they will build the tunnels soon after.

"That's when we get the big tunnel under ground. The large shaft at Coming Street, the large shaft at the Ashley River and a 12 foot diameter tunnel connecting the whole system," said Cabiness.

The work happening in the Crosstown is the most expensive and largest project the city has ever done to relieve flooding.

"It's got a total cost estimate for the entire project of about 154 million dollars. The area it serves is about 500 acres and it's almost 20 percent of the peninsula," said Cabiness.

Cabiness says they are currently in the process of working with an engineer to improve drainage around the campus of the MUSC.

She says they have also upgraded storm tunnels in many neighborhoods of West Ashley.

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