Long-awaited Casey Canal Drainage project work is underway in Midtown Savannah

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 10:52 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Some residents in Midtown Savannah always expect flooding, whether it be a tropical storm or just a heavy rain.

But after almost 20 years of planning, the Casey Canal Project is underway to help with drainage problems.

Ardsley Park and Habersham Village are prone to a lot of flooding.

“I went back two hours later the water had reached to my waist,” said Claire Frazier, reflecting on flooding from last year.

Claire Frazier came to the City of Savannah’s update on the project Tuesday evening because she’s one of many people who’ve been waiting on them come up with a plan to address their drainage issues.

“For three days non-stop, the Casey Canal runs adjacent to the property at Waters and Mall. As a result, the water came up. I had to move my car out of the stall because had I waited it would’ve flooded my vehicle entirely.”

Some of the wait is over. The city is moving block by block, now opening up 54th street with micro tunneling, with 56th and 57th St. to come next.

“It’s the largest public investment we’ve seen in these Midtown neighborhoods in the city’s history,” said District 4 Alderman Nick Palumbo.

The price tag – $40 million. Engineers on the project shared how they’re doing what they can to ensure the investment is in the right place and keep residents safe. Though there might be some inconveniences, including temporarily not having access to their driveways.

Alderman Palumbo said, “and I said it a bunch of times during the presentation...today we’re going to swear at it. Tomorrow, we’re going to swear by it.”

The deep tunnel project is what they’re hoping will be funded by the next SPLOST.

“This is what they do...they drill down 100 feet so the only disturbance is right there at the entrance shaft. They literally go underneath the entire city so all of these neighbors will have no idea. They won’t hear anything or feel any vibrations.”

But Frazier brought up some more immediate needs in her neighborhood that should be given priority.

“A lot of futuristic solutions, but we need an imminent solution as far as clean up is concerned and maintenance of the canal the Casey Canal.”

There’s no timeline yet for the start of the deep tunneling project. Alderman Nick Palumbo said they’ll keep having these meetings to update the community on their progress.