Market Street Drainage Improvement Project

Project Background

Downtown Market. Sudden summer thunderstorm. High tide. Thigh-deep water.

Thus is the pattern experienced in an area of the peninsula constructed on an old tidal creek bed.

City Market

The City Market located betwixt North and South Market Streets and between Meeting Street and East Bay Street is a popular attraction for tourists and residents alike with its local artisans, historic structures, and retail and restaurants flanking it on all sides. It sits at the lower end of the Market Street Drainage Basin, a roughly crescent-shaped basin approximately 55.5 acres in area encompassing Market and Cumberland Streets from East Bay Street to Meeting St and Meeting Street from Market Street to Wentworth Street.

For about 200 years, the main drainage feature in the basin has been the historic brick arch drains that are about 2.5 feet wide by 2.5 feet high running the length of the Market underneath the buildings to an outfall just beyond Concord Street. (Of course, 200 years ago when Major Daniel's Creek was filled in and the Market was constructed, due to the decreased progression of thermal expansion, sea level was about 2 feet lower and flooding is assumed to be less frequent.) Over the years, however, the brick arch system has become full of sediment and difficult to clean safely. Additionally, the surface collection system (inlets) was not designed to modern standards, so combined with the conveyance system that is not operating at full capacity, any stormwater that falls on the Market does not get efficiently removed and quickly accumulates.