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Public works: County outlines plans for Hagley drainage project

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

There was never a master plan for drainage in Hagley Estates. A system evolved as houses were built and driveways paved that sometimes resulted in flooding.

Georgetown County is proposing a two-part project to improve stormwater drainage through the neighborhood south of Pawleys Island. Residents will have an opportunity to learn about the proposal today at 5:30 p.m. at Waccamaw High School.

“This one has been on the books for years,” said David Gantt, projects manager in the Georgetown County Capital Improvement Project Division. “The roads and pipes were built before houses and commercial development added to the runoff. There was no master plan, and the system is overtaxed. This is not a maintenance item but a regional issue.”

The Hagley watershed project will be divided into eastern and western areas, Gantt said. Improvements to the eastern area drainage conveyance system start at Sandy Knowe Lane, cross Tyson Drive, go down Massick Lane, through a wetland ditch system, across Brace Drive, through another wetland system, cross Beaumont Drive and end at the downstream end of the Kings River Road culvert crossing.

For the western area, improvements begin upstream of the Five Points intersection and continue west along Hagley Drive to the drainage outfall in the 1100 block.

Gantt says there are 840 acres in the proposal with a majority of the land flat topography. Drainage runs along public roads and through private property via ditches, pipes and wetlands.

“This area is below today’s standards,” Gantt said, “and we hope to bring it as close to design standards as possible in order to handle a 25-year storm event with 8 inches of rain in 24 hours.”

Ideally, he said, a drainage system would be designed to handle a 100-year storm event, but “that’s a tricky prospect along the coast.”

Georgetown County Council heard a report on watershed management from the Public Works staff this week. Gantt told members of the council that cost of the eastern part of the Hagley project is estimated at $290,000 and could start early in 2013.

The key item was listed as phased construction. The western part of the project is estimated at $850,000 and could start in the summer of 2013. The key item was the complex utilities relocation and acquiring easements.

Gantt hopes residents will attend the public meeting today because the county will need to acquire easements from some of them in order to clean and widen ditches and put in larger pipes.

During the watershed discussion, County Council Member Ron Charlton said property owners are reluctant to grant easements because they don’t want a bigger ditch in front of their houses. He asked if the county could put in drainage pipes and eliminate ditches.

Not usually, Gantt said. Pipes won’t carry as much storm water as a ditch. Public Works director Raye Funnye said installing pipes is far more costly, too.

“We are hoping to introduce an interactive process,” Gantt said, “going on the recommendation of our consultant with a cooperative effort from the public.”

For information about today’s meeting, call the county Capital Improvement Projects Division at 545-3255.

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