Second phase of Market St drainage project underway

(File photo of the Market during a flood/Charles Merry)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Another phase to a long-awaited solution to the flooding problems on Market Street was set into motion Friday.

Heavy rain around the time of high tide often creates soggy conditions for vendors and tourists in the area.

Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr, members of City Council, engineers and staff celebrated the groundbreaking for the next phase of The Market Street Drainage Project at 11 a.m. Friday at Market and Concord Streets.

Officials expressed excitement that a resolution to the flooding problems was underway, but also addressed concerns that the project may affect business in the area.

"For the people that work here and the citizens or visitors to have to wade through water is not fair," said Mayor Riley. "Project engineer Michael Horton says the bulk of the construction should not interfere with tourism."

"The only work to take place outside of this fence for this phase will be the drilled shafts which will be lowered at Market Street and that will be done during the January, February and March time of this coming year to minimize the disruption to the visitors and businesses in the area," said project engineer Michael Horton.

This new phase of the project will include excavating a 20 feet wide, 80 feet deep vertical shaft near the intersection of Market and Concord Streets and 4,000 linear feet of 10 diameter tunnel connecting the Market area with the Concord Street Pump Station.

"This is something that the citizens of our city should be very proud of. These are all improvements that take one step at a time," said Riley.

The project was part of the master drainage plan created in 1984. It is one of the higher priority projects because of the severity and frequency of the flooding.

Officials with the City of Charleston say the second phase of the project will take approximately 18 months.