On Monday federal and local lawmakers announced millions of dollars in funding to help prevent future flood damage at Annapolis City Dock, and it couldn’t have been more timely.
The same day the leaders gathered at Market House to applaud the $3.46 million in funds, high-tide flooding spilled over City Dock’s brick promenade and standing water forced roadways to close.
CBM editor Jefferson Holland captured video of the flooding (below) just before Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, Congressman John Sarbanes, Mayor Gavin Buckley and Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman held a press conference.
Nuisance flooding like this is relatively common at City Dock.
The latest $3.46 million is included in the recently passed Fiscal year 2023 omnibus appropriations legislation. It will be put towards the flood mitigation and resilience project at City Dock that is estimated to cost more than $50 million. It will include flood barriers, storm drain improvements, stormwater pump station and backup power generators as well as reducing non-pervious runoff areas.
So far, Maryland’s Congressional delegation has secured $9.95 million towards the project. Annapolis businesses, special events like the Annapolis Boat Shows and traffic are already impacted by increasingly frequent tidal flooding downtown.
Tidal flooding happens when, at high tide, water from the harbor/Ego Alley backflows into the storm drains and rises into the adjacent streets. This flooding in the area along Dock Street to Susan Campbell Park is sometimes called “sunny day” flooding because it can occur on perfectly clear, sunny days.
The City of Annapolis says it’s looking at short-, medium- and long-term solutions. Temporary underground pumps were installed in 2019 into the stormwater drains on Dock and Newman streets but as Monday’s high-tide flooding showed, it’s not enough.
As a medium-term solution, more sophisticated stormwater pumping station near Compromise Street would move water that could otherwise flow into the street and nearby properties, instead moving that water back out into the harbor.
In the long term, the city would add a new pump station including a wet well, control building and back-up generator; realign the existing storm drain systems; and construct a new bulkhead at the end of Newman Street. Read more about the progress of the flood mitigation project here.
-Meg Walburn Viviano