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City considers wall around the peninsula to combat sea rise

A plan to wall the city would bring massive benefits the next time a major storm sweeps through...
A plan to wall the city would bring massive benefits the next time a major storm sweeps through Charleston, but cost more than a billion dollars.(City of Charleston/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 10:16 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 12, 2021 at 11:47 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston and the Army Corp of Engineers are testing the waters on the idea of building 12-foot sea wall around the peninsula to combat storm surge.

The $1.1 billion plan is outlined in the Charleston Peninsula Coastal Flood Risk Management Study done by the Corp of Engineers over the last three years. A feasibility study was presented to the city council Tuesday night.

The public can offer feedback on the study until Oct. 25, with the city council members expected to weigh in officially after that. The study started in 2018 with an Emergency Supplemental funds appropriation from Congress and is being handled at the federal level with the City of Charleston acting as its local partner.

The federal government would be on the hook for around $715 million, while the city would kick in about $385 million. However, the return on the investment can’t be understated. The study finds for every dollar spent on the wall, $10 will be saved in future storm damage.

The idea is currently still being studied, so the details of construction are not set in stone. Even if approved by the city, the actual proposal would need to be authorized and funded by Congress sometime next year.

In terms of size and style, the sea wall’s 12-foot height would start at the water level and vary based on where you are. Areas around Lockwood Boulevard would effectively see 7 to 8 feet of wall from the sidewalk while the Battery may only need a few extra feet.

You can find the full project here: https://www.sac.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Supplemental-Funding/Charleston-Peninsula-Study/

If you’d like to comment on the study, you can do so by calling the voicemail line at 843-329-8017 or by mailing comments to the Charleston District, Planning and Environmental Branch, 69A Hagood Ave., Charleston SC 29403.

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