CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – Thousands of people living in Charleston’s Eastside neighborhood could see improvements to drainage as the city gets to work on a multimillion dollar infrastructure project.
The City of Charleston is in the midst of designing and permitting a $10 million project to help reduce flooding from Meeting Street to the west out toward East Bay Street.
“We’re basically taking the tax money as that area redevelops and reinvesting it into that community through these infrastructure improvements,” Charleston Stormwater Management Director Matthew Fountain said.
Fountain said the city is looking to increase the size of the pipes underneath some of the roadways to handle more water when it rains. Right now, he said the water cannot get out because of the small pipe sizes, so it pools in the street.
Hours after storms rolled through the area on Wednesday, America Street near Johnson Street looked more like a pond than a roadway, and the water level reached up to some people’s shins.
While they work on the project, Fountain said the city has cleaned out just under two miles of pipes in the neighborhood.
Charleston Housing Authority President and CEO Art Milligan said there are multiple public housing residences in the area.
“It’s going to be important for the new development we’re doing and the viability of the area for the long-term,” Milligan said, “because if we kept going the way we were going, then some of these buildings would collapse. “
Fountain said the area previously did not get much attention from the government, and the city is looking to upgrade the infrastructure to improve the quality of life.
“This is, again, a long, outstanding stormwater flooding challenge in a neighborhood that’s really suffered from it for decades,” Fountain said. “It’s great to see the city and council and the mayor all unified in saying, ‘We need to do something.'”
Fountain said there will be community outreach events next year on this project, and they hope to start construction on the pipes in 2024.
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