South Congaree gets good news about Ramblin Road, Springdale residents not so lucky
South Congaree, SC (Paul Kirby) – The SCDOT has received their final report regarding Ramblin Road from the engineering firm that they hired to evaluate dams across the area after the 2015 floods. South Congaree residents collectively applauded when the report said that the SCDOT could start the repairs on Ramblin without undertaking repairs to the pond dam itself.
In the latest update from the DOT, they said that engineers confirmed that the downstream road embankment was all that was damaged when waters rose during the floods. Engineering of that embankment is currently underway and work to repair it and replace the state-owned drainage culvert could begin soon. Once that is done, the road could quickly be reopened.
In other areas of Lexington County, the news was not so rosy. The dam on Wilton Road in Springdale will require additional study before it is decided how that repair will proceed. The same is true for the pond on Durham Road in Springdale near I-26 just off Airport Boulevard.
All of the dams have had soil borings, the pipes have been monitored by camera systems, and multiple techniques have been employed to thoroughly inspect the dams. This is why the DOT used a consultant firm with expertise in dam construction and maintenance.
One of the majoring holdups in all of these projects has been who actually owned the dirt under the state’s roads. In all of these cases, the DOT only held a right-of-way to maintain the roadbed and not the actual dams under the roads. In fact, state law prohibits the DOT from impounding water in lakes and ponds, according to Andy Leaphart of the SCDOT.
On Wilton Road, if the dam is found to be damaged after being inspected and tested by the engineering consultants, the owner of the property would be responsible for repairing it if they wanted to keep the pond. The problem is, after an arduous search of county tax and property records, the actual property owner is still not clear.
Putting dams back in place to a standard that would satisfy all the requirements of the DOT, the Army Corps of Engineers, and DHEC, the state agency that regulates dams, could also be very expensive. This cost would be hard for any private property owner to swallow.
If the dams aren’t replaced in Springdale, it doesn’t mean that those roads will remained closed indefinitely. The DOT could dig through the remainder of the dams, install new concrete culverts, convert them into streams under the road rather than ponds behind the dam, and then reopen the roads quickly. This would cause the ponds to be abandoned.
More reports regarding the Springdale dams are expected next month according to the DOT. We will continue to update this story in The Ledger and by social media as we learn more about the progress of the repairs.