COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – Columbia Water is actively working on flood mitigation projects surrounding Five Points, but when they’ll be completed remains unclear.
In the aftermath of flash flooding on July 4th brought on by 5.51 inches of rain, WIS followed up with the city-run utility on the mitigation projects which would help reduce future issues.
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WIS drew information from Columbia Water’s storm water capital improvement mapan update PDF provided by Columbia Water, and an interview with Assistant City Manager Clint Shealy.
The projects are funded by storm water fees utility.
Shealy described the projects as a “series of improvements” for the Rocky Branch area and Columbia as whole.
He said design work, contracting and environmental concerns impact the process.
“You do all those things, and you try to be strategic as you move forward through the process to make sure you’re investing wisely and so that takes time,” he said.
He said no project can guarantee flooding prevention, but they will help mitigate.
Here’s the breakdown:
Rocky Branch Stream Restoration A
- Status: Phase design
- Cost: Estimated $3,000,000
- Project Description: This project will include stream restoration of Rocky Branch through Maxcy Gregg Park to reduce erosion, improve stream health and increase public enjoyment of the stream.
WIS asked Shealy for guidance on a deadline or timeline and he described it as “pretty early.”
“We don’t have construction documents, we haven’t gone to bid, we’re still modeling and evaluating those alternatives,” he said.
Queen Street Storm water improvements
- Status: Design completion expected Summer 2022.
- Cost: Estimated $3,000,000
- Project Description: The purpose of this project is to evaluate the existing storm water drainage network within the Rocky Branch watershed and design improvements that can be constructed to alleviate ongoing localized flooding complaints in the Old Shandon neighborhood. Improvements will be designed to resolve undersized and improperly sloped storm drain pipes to meet the service requirements of the surrounding neighborhood.
“It’s more detention oriented,” Shealy said. “It gives the opportunity to store the water, slow it down, and release it in more of a controlled way so we don’t overwhelm the pipes downstream.”
A construction firm for the project is to be determined.
Shealy said property and easement acquisition could slow the construction process.
- Status: We hold
- Cost: Estimated $9,000,000 (when combined with the above Queen Street Storm water improvements)
- Project Description: The Millwood detention project aims to alleviate downstream flooding in Five Points.
The Columbia Water project map points to the Millwood project being a partner project with that of the Queen Street Stormwater project.
Columbia Water spokesperson Robert Yanity told WIS the project is on hold due to issues with land acquisition for the retention pond.
Whaley & Main Stream Crossing Upgrade & RR Crossing Improvement
- Status: Expected to move to design in 2022, pending the results of additional conceptual alternatives analysis.
- Cost: Estimated $8,000,000
- Project Description: This project will increase road and railroad stream crossing conveyance capacity to reduce flooding and road overtopping at the Whaley & Main Street intersection.
Shealy described this project a “big part of that equation,” to help reduce flooding in Five Points.
No construction firm has been retained.
MLK Park Detention
- Status: Full
- Cost: Estimated $1,000,000
- Project Description: This project includes the creation of off-stream stormwater detention facilities along Rocky Branch to reduce downstream flooding
The detention features the use of plants at MLK Park to help reduce flooding near the Five Points neighborhood.
Shealy said in previous storms, the project has outperformed expectations on water detention.
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