$15M Hitchcock Woods storm water project gets underway in Aiken

August 27th, 5:52 AM EDT

AIKEN, S.C. (WFXG) - A $15 million project to improve storm water flow in Aiken is officially underway. The project is paid with capital sales tax, grant and state revolving fund. It’s happening in the Hitchcock Woods area just off of South Boundary Avenue.

Just a couple of blocks away from downtown Aiken lies a canyon within Hitchcock Woods. However, it wasn't always as big as it is today. The canyon is the result of more than 60 years of erosion.  Now, the city is working to change the flow of storm water to reduce further damage.

The project began Monday, August 23. Crews are working to install three big underground vaults. Essentially, the vaults will trap a lot of the water that typically rushes into the Sand River area. Until now, much of that water would rush out of one pipe on the property, causing flooding and damage. 

These new vaults, as well as some new technology, will be able to better control storm water flow. Along with making environmental improvements, there’s also more benefits for you.

“We wanted to make this an amenity to the city when we are all said and done. So, we are going to be constructing a mini park on top of these facilities with some walking trails, increased landscaping. We’re also going to do a pollinator garden a pollinator meadow to help improve some of the habitat for some of our bird and butterfly friends,” said Jason Hetrick, McCormick Taylor Senior Manager.

Hetrick says they also plan to install some learning kiosks that will show the history of Aiken and Hitchcock Woods, with the hope of making the area a destination spot. However, perhaps an even bigger goal for the team, is making the project itself an example for South Carolina. 

"There's a lot of exciting things happening with this project that's going to be bringing new and cutting-edge storm water management treatment into the state, you know. We hope to use this as a learning project so that other municipalities and property owners can see what they can do and how they can help the environment in the course of doing their own projects." said Hetrick.

The work should be finished in about a year. In the meantime, you will want to be on the lookout for work in this area. Hetrick says to expect some traffic delays, especially as the project progresses next week.

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