$75 million loan signed; construction of a tunnel in the flood-prone town of Ellicott is set to begin
Funding has been secured and ground is expected to begin this year to build a 5,000 foot tunnel in the historic town of Ellicott. It will carry water away from the flood-prone Main Street and into the Patapsco River.
The biggest and potentially most effective aspect of Howard County, Maryland’s $165 million plan to minimize flooding along Main Street in historic Ellicott, will launch later this year. , learned the OMCP.
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball will announce on Tuesday that the county has secured funding to build a 5,000-foot tunnel that will carry water from Main Street to the Patapsco River, according to county officials.
The county signed a $75 million deal Loan under the Hydraulic Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act with the United States Environmental Protection Agency to pay for the tunnel. Construction is expected to begin later this year.
Ellicott City was devastated by flooding in 2016 and 2018 – two people died in the 2016 event, one died in 2018. Founded in 1772, the former mill town’s topography has made it perpetually prone to floods.
Ball is expected to provide more details about the 18-foot-diameter tunnel, which is capable of carrying a swimming pool’s worth of water every second. The tunnel parallel to Main Street will be, in some places, up to 100 feet below ground level.
Since taking office, Ball has committed more than $160 million in local, state and federal funds to protect Ellicott City.
In May 2019, Ball announced the plan, which will include the razing of four buildings on lower Main Street. An earlier plan would have called for the destruction of 10 buildings to widen the channel that carries water to the Patapsco River during heavy rains.
The tunnel water intake will be located adjacent to the existing parking lot F, near the intersection of Ellicott Mills Drive and Main Street. The flood-swollen Tiber Creek washed away part of Ellicott Mills Drive in 2018, resulting in a stronger and larger concrete waterway below the road.
Emergency sirens were installed in 2019 to warn residents and business owners of flash flood warnings. After a July 2019 incident, in which emergency sirens failed to sound, the county and National Weather Service implemented a new protocol to differentiate “Historic Ellicott City” from the more common city.
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