Columbia's infrastructure major concern during flash flooding - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia's infrastructure major concern during flash flooding

(Source: WIS) (Source: WIS)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

A long-time problem yet again was exposed in the city of Columbia after heavy rains caused streets to flood Wednesday.

Mayor Steve Benjamin said talks started earlier this week - but Wednesday's storm was a reminder of just how much work needs to be done. 

Discussions are now underway about investing in Columbia's storm water infrastructure. Especially places like Five Points - where it floods almost anytime it rains. 

"Time is of the essence, certainly when you're standing in the storm watching the rain come down and state roads deteriorate as it's happening. It is time to do something and do something major," Benjamin said. 

A plan introduced by the city council just this week aims to address the city's stormwater infrastructure. A potential $93 million investment to prevent neighborhood flooding like this.

"Finally getting the very first storm water study on Tuesday and then obviously the storm on Wednesday, it put some really timely perspective that also along with timeline we have before us, it's pressing," Benjamin said. 

The timeline before the city council means a decision could come in the next 30 days. Benjamin said it is a historical decision.

"The frequency and severity of this impact our life every single day," Benjamin said. "I think we should lead the country. Helps every citizen."

Columbia's city council is in the early stages of discussing improvements, but in areas like Five Points, which was designed 100 years ago, won't be cheap to fix.

It's a price tag he said the city will need to make sooner than later.

"Hope and pray that most of the council will come along with me," Benjamin said. 

The mayor said he expects the council to vote on the plan by May. Most of the money would come from existing funds.

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