CHARLESTON, S.C (WCBD) – The City Market is just one of many areas in Downtown Charleston that is prone to flooding. Following Friday night’s high waters in the market, Charleston city leaders provided an update on a drainage project in that area.
The Market Street Drainage Improvement Project is underway to alleviate flooding in the City Market. It is a three-division project. City leaders said they are currently working out the design details of the final phase.
Five thousand feet of deep tunnel and three drop shafts were installed as part of Division 2. According to Steve Kirk, the Project Management Practice Leader for Charleston, Division 3 will consist of adding new street drains and pipes.
They will connect to vortex boxes that will sit on the drop shafts to move water to the deep tunnel – before eventually being pumped into the Cooper River by the Concord Street Pump Station.
“Once we implement Division 3, put the vortex boxes in on top of the drop shafts, and then put the new pipes and the new street drains in, it’s going to start moving water a whole lot faster than we see right now,” said Kirk.
According to Kirk, the Market used to be a creek which is why it floods so easily.
“It is still one of the lower areas. And so, when rain falls, it still drains to that area,” he explained.
Kirk said the plan is to have the design for Division 3 complete around the middle of 2023 and construction will begin shortly after that.
Meanwhile, market vendors and shoppers were met with flood waters late last week. Brenda Whisler is the owner of Lots of Lights. She was selling her product at the Market on Friday night, as she has done every weekend for the past decade. However, she said heavy rainfall brought flood water within a matter of minutes.
“Fortunately, all of my product is plastic, so it all dried out eventually. But we had some of our container lids floating down the street. We lost a couple of those,” said Whisler.
She said she will not go to the market if there is a decent chance of rain in the forecast.