Charleston’s Spring-Fishburne drainage project is years behind, $44M over budget | Tunnel-trouble

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Every morning on the edge of the Ashley River, construction workers form lines and step into metal cages about the size of telephone booths. Then a crane between the U.S. Highway 17 bridges lowers them down a 180-foot shaft.

This daunting commute is part of the Spring-Fishburne Drainage Improvement Project, one of Charleston’s largest and most expensive flood prevention efforts to date.

When completed, which is now projected for 2024, its pump station and network of tunnels will be able to siphon 6,000 gallons of water per second from a critical part of the city’s peninsula.

It will speed drainage on the Septima P. Clark Parkway, a key transportation corridor also known as the Crosstown Expressway with areas that turn into swollen canals during routine…

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