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Septima Clark drainage project receives $21.5 million in state funding

Staff Report //July 8, 2020//

Septima Clark drainage project receives $21.5 million in state funding

Staff Report //July 8, 2020//

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The city of Charleston has been approved by the state for an additional $21.5 million in funding to complete a drainage improvement project along Septima P. Clark Parkway, a major roadway on the peninsula that is beset by frequent flooding and closures.

The S.C. Transportation Infrastructure Bank approved the city’s application for the additional funds Tuesday, according to a news release from the city. The money will go toward Phase 5 of the Septima Clark Drainage and Transportation Improvement Project, for which the city first applied in 2011 (.pdf).

A request for $34 million to fund a city project to upgrade the seawall at the Battery was not approved by the bank. The Low Battery Seawall Repair project is still eligible for funding later this year or can be resubmitted in 2021, according to the release.

According to the city’s website, Phase 5 is the final phase of the Septima Clark project and will include procurement and installation of the main stormwater pumps.

“This is a huge win for citizens all across Charleston,” Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said in the release. “In addition to providing essential funding for this critical project, it will free up $21.5 million for use in drainage projects in every area of our city.”

According to the city’s website, construction of the pump station is expected to begin in summer 2022 and be complete by the end of 2023. Once the project is completed, the pump station and other infrastructure improvements that were part of earlier stages are expected to significantly reduce the severity and duration of flooding along the roadway, which carries more than 60,000 vehicles per day on average.

The new pump station would not run during active storm surge from a hurricane, which could inundate the new tunnels that are part of the project. Rather, the pumps would be shut down with the intent to start up quickly after a storm passes. The pumps will be equipped with diesel motors as backups in case of a power loss.