Construction to start soon on Mossy Oaks drainage project

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From staff reports

Equipment is being moved to Southside Park this week to prepare for the first major construction phase of the Mossy Oaks Drainage Project, which is expected to begin in the next two weeks.

The initial work will include the installation, and resetting the elevation, of drainage pipes along roads including West Royal Oaks Drive, First Boulevard, Broad Street, and Battery Creek Road. Work will also take place along the Jane Way Ditch and Spanish Moss Trail.

“Drainage improvements will take about six months and while vital, the construction work will be disruptive,” said Neal Pugliese, chairman of the Multijurisdictional Mossy Oaks Drainage Task Force. “Residents can expect many detours throughout the area. We will notify residents about one week in advance of scheduled work unless an emergency arises.”

In June, Truluck Construction Inc. was awarded the first of two construction contracts for the project for approximately $4.6 million. Truluck’s work will encompass Basin 1 (north side of neighborhood) and Basin 2 West (south side) where water collects due to misaligned drainage pipe elevations. This work is expected to last about six months, Pugliese said.

The project is being funded through bond proceeds, grants of $1.5 million, and a $373,000 contribution from Beaufort County and Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority.

In 2017, the Multijurisdictional Mossy Oaks Drainage Task Force was formed to address the issue of repeated flooding in the Mossy Oaks neighborhood. The area, comprising hundreds of acres and several hundred homes, floods following heavy rains, high tides, and storm surges. An engineering study identified factors such as inefficient drainage structures and poor drainage patterns. Other complicating issues included homes built on slabs, along with ditches overgrown with vegetation.

In 2019, workers cleared out and graded the Jane Way Ditch in Basin 1, which was overgrown with vegetation and used for dumping. Currently, flap gates have been ordered for the Spanish Moss Trail where it abuts Battery Creek. “These will prevent water surging into the neighborhood during severe weather events,” Pugliese said.

While no area in the Lowcountry is safe from hurricanes that occur at high tide, the Mossy Oaks improvements will significantly improve drainage for average or above average storm events, Pugliese said.

As work progresses, updates, including maps showing the next phase of work, will be posted regularly to the City’s website and shared on social media. Those interested can sign up for Mossy Oak updates through the Notify Me feature on the City of Beaufort’s website. Sign in to Notify Me (http://www.cityofbeaufort.org/list.aspx), and then click on Mossy Oaks updates under News Flash.