ByDanielle Seat|May 11, 2021 at 6:39 AM EDT - Updated May 11 at 7:34 AM
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A $14 million dollar drainage improvement project is in the works to help relieve flooding in the medical district.
The Stormwater Management Director Matthew Fountain says the plan is to install a drop shaft, which is essentially a high-tech drainage system, on Ehrhardt Street. The drop shaft will help drain flood water from the medical district to the Ashley River.
South Carolina HUD plans to contribute about $10 million towards the project, and the City of Charleston would match the grant award with $4.2 million.
Fountain says accepting $10 million from the state is a major milestone in a project that’s been in the works for years.
Fountain says its important to keep the medical district from flooding because first responders with Roper St. Francis Hospital, The Medical University of South Carolina, and the Veterans Administration all use this area. He says if they aren’t able to get through the streets because of flooding, it could mean the difference between life or death.
“The medical district obviously has some huge impact when there’s heavy flooding out there,” Fountain said. “There’s access to the emergency rooms that are located along this corridor so its hard for ambulances as well as doctors to be able to get in and out of the district and the rest of the staff that work there. So this is trying to open up those lifelines or life safety corridors to make sure people can get in and out of these critical care facilities.”
Fountain says the drop shaft at Ehrhardt Street will relieve flooding within 27 acres.
The drop shaft would connect to an existing tunnel at Fishburne Street and Spring Street to flush the water out to the Ashley River.
The Stormwater Management team will go before city council on Tuesday with plans to accept the grant.
If the city accepts the grant and enters into the agreement, there are a few more tasks to complete before construction would start. Fountain says he expects to break ground at Ehrhardt Street towards the end of this year and construction could be completed in early 2023.
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