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US17 Spring/Fishburne Drainage Improvement Project
Project Overview

From the moment the Crosstown was constructed across the Peninsula to connect the Ashley River bridges to the Cooper River bridges, a jagged, indelible scar was slashed across the City of Charleston, dividing neighborhoods, separating friends and families, and creating a tear in the fabric of the City. The six-lane "expressway's" sole focus was on quickly moving vehicles giving little thought or planning to pedestrians. The road was stark and barren, uninviting to motorist and dangerous to pedestrians. In addition, no thought to improving the drainage infrastructure was given during design and construction, adding additional stormwater runoff to an already undersized system. As a result, during times of moderate to heavy rainfall that fall within a few hours of high tide, the Crosstown becomes impassable to vehicles, oftentimes for many hours, cutting off access to vital entities such as 3 major area hospitals including the VA Hospital and MUSC's Level 1 Trauma Center, the National Guard Center, the City of Charleston police station headquarters, two fire stations, the US Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters, and four area schools.

The US17 Septima Clark Parkway Transportation Infrastructure Reinvestment Project is designed to heal the scar; to improve the mobility, efficiency, emergency preparedness, and community livability; and, most importantly, to alleviate many of the flooding problems by reinvesting in the infrastructure. The transportation advancements will incorporate safer travel lanes for vehicles; improved intersections for pedestrian safety and vehicle efficiency; Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS); and new, energy-efficient traffic signals. The infrastructure reinvestment will consist of constructing improved and additional surface collection systems throughout parts of the basins, drilling several shafts from the surface down as much as 150 feet, boring three 12-ft. diameter tunnels connecting the shafts, constructing a new pump station on the Ashley River, and constructing an outfall from the pump station to the Ashley River.

The project area makes up approximately 20% of the peninsula of Charleston and experiences regular, significant flooding. Affected entities include MUSC, Roper Hospital, the VA hospital, the Citadel, Burke High School, Mitchell Grade School, the Crosstown (which inhibits interstate travel, commerce, and emergency vehicles), the City of Charleston police, the City of Charleston fire department, The Army Corps of Engineers, Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments, South Carolina Department of Transportation, several churches, and the businesses and residents in the area.

Click here for more information regarding the project phasing and the work that still needs to be completed to more fully alleviate the drainage challenges. 

The City of Charleston received a $10 million TIGER 1 grant (out of the $146.3 million for which it applied) which enabled us to lay the groundwork for solving the drainage problems of the Crosstown. Of the $11.3 million contract awarded to O.L. Thompson Construction Co., about $10 million of that is for drainage and transportation infrastructure, precluding the need for large-scale disturbance of the roadway for future phases. The first phase of this multi-phase project was completed in April 2013 and the City of Charleston has secured Federal and State funding to complete the remainder of the project.

Federal Funding Application Information Booklet

Steven A. Kirk, P.E.
Senior Engineering Project Manager

2 George Street
Second Floor
Charleston, SC 29401

Ph: 843-579-7682
Fx: 843-973-7261