As Charleston attempts to address the growing threat of sea level rise on the peninsula, drivers can expect additional street closures resulting from the Spring/Fishburne Drainage Improvement Project.
Called the largest drainage project in Charleston’s history, the city will be forced to close the intersection of Cannon and President streets for approximately one month starting Mon. April 24. This traffic change comes a few months after the King Street exit from I-26 was closed due to construction related to the $146 million drainage improvement project. The closure of the King Street exit ramp, which is planned to last until 2019, was deemed necessary as workers construct two large tunnels placed as far as 150 feet underground.
The intersection will essentially close the Cannon Street exit off the Crosstown Expressway
According to senior engineering project manager Steven Kirk, the completion of the Spring/Fishburne Drainage Improvement Project — which has begun the third of five phases — will result in direct drainage improvements for nearly 20 percent of the peninsula.
The construction of the two underground tunnels set for constructed during this phase of the project will eventually connect to a pump station, which will be built later in the process. Plans for the station include three separate pumps, each capable of handling 120,000 gallons of stormwater per minute. The project’s final two phases, which includes the pump station and discharge piping to the Ashley River, is estimated to cost $66 million.
Outlined as a part of the city’s Sea-Level Rise Strategy, it was estimated in 2009 that each significant flooding event costs the Charleston area approximately $12.4 million. Over a 50-year period, during which sea levels could rise by as much as two feet maximum, the city estimates that flooding would cause $1.53 billion in damage and lost wages if the drainage problem is not addressed.