City of Charleston leaders discussing storm surge and flooding plans

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – City of Charleston leaders and the Army Corps of Engineers met to discuss their next steps in their “Coastal Flood Risk Management Study” to help keep the Holy City from not ending up underwater.

“These storms only come around once in a while, but when they do they knock things off for decades,” says Dale Morris the Chief Resilience Officer with the City of Charleston.

The Army Corps of Engineers is working to finalize a 12-foot storm surge wall be put in place so that the wetlands aren’t as impacted and they’re calling for homes on the peninsula to be raised. Morris says this helps from storm surge and flooding risks from happening across the city.

“This will provide a lot of benefit for a long period of time as the sea’s are rising so the benefits of this structure are really high,” he says.

For three years engineers and city leaders have drafted what this storm surge structure would look like, where it would go, and what areas of the peninsula it would impact.

“This will impact most critical roads, it could devastate the medical district, port facilities and some neighborhoods,” Morris says.

Morris says storm surge wall could protect the Lowcountry until 2050. The city is negotiating with federal government to help fund the project through phases of the from 2026 to 2032. He says these plans need to be put into place now before another major storm hits the Lowcountry.

“Surge risk is the highest risk to the city and it’s what kills people. It does so much economic damage that takes a decade to recover from. If we can find a way to mitigate and fight that flooding, the City of Charleston is truly a leader in this realm,” he says.

City leaders says this project could get underway in the next three years if it’s approved and the all-end cost will be $1.1 billion. The public can give their feedback on the plan until October 25th.

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