CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - There could be a potential multimillion dollar solution to flooding in West Ashley after severe weather, but it’s facing some funding issues as a major roadway widening project gets underway.
The $2.6 million drainage project involves Lake Dotterer and Long Branch Creek, which is on Glenn McConnell Parkway just past Magwood Drive.
Charleston City Councilmember Kevin Shealy said they only have a few weeks to connect these two bodies of water with drainage pipes at the same time the road gets widened.
“Storms like Hurricane Irma, Michael and those types of storms, we’ve had unbelievable flooding,” Shealy said. “The opportunity is there for us to be able to have one time we can put pipes in underneath the Glenn McConnell, allow that Lake Dotterer to flow into Long Branch Creek. It just seems to make sense to do this all at one time.”
The councilmember also recalled how flooded the western part of West Ashley was following major storms. In the days following Hurricane Irma, Bees Ferry Road was inundated with floodwater, impacting neighboring buildings and homes.
Shealy wants the city and Charleston County to pay for the project, which was included in the initial widening plans, but funding issues have caused the connection to be left out.
During severe weather, the lake currently drains into Church Creek, which leads to flooding on Bees Ferry Road and in the Shadowmoss neighborhood.
Ashleigh Watterworth has lived in the Shadowmoss neighborhood for five years.
“[Flooding is] certainly something that comes up very quickly in conversation,” she said.
She remembered how the flooding was during the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.
“Our home is – two sides of it are on the water – and so we did experience a significant rise in the water,” Watterworth said, “and it was flowing around our property, so that’s certainly a little bit scary, and that was on the lower end of a hurricane.”
In a 2017 study, an engineering firm recommended to the city to connect Lake Dotterer to Long Branch Creek via pipes to address flooding in the basin.
Shealy said the lake used to flow into the creek, but when Glenn McConnell was built, it dammed up that flow.
“We have homes that have flooded multiple times along Lake Dotterer, and they will flood again if we don’t do anything,” Shealy said. “If a major storm comes, when we have a major storm surge and there’s a lot of rain, Lake Dotterer will flood again.”
Ultimately, Shealy said the drainage project would connect the lake down to the Stono River through Long Branch Creek.
If it’s funded, the councilmember said the project would take around three to four months to complete.
He’s waiting to hear back from Charleston County and the city to see how to fund it.
Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.