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Howard County announces plan to control flooding in Ellicott City

Federal loan to help build near mile long tunnel
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Posted at 4:13 PM, May 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-24 17:21:29-04

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — Nearly four years after the last deadly flood in historic Ellicott City, Howard County has unveiled plans to bring relief to its resilient residents by building a massive tunnel to help divert water in the future.

“I’m not a huge fan of the word ‘resilient because I feel that it means, will the trials and tribulations ever end? and we have been tested to our most maximum capacity,” said Angie Tersiguel, a restaurant co-owner on the town’s Main Street.

MORE: Remember The Ellicott City Flood

The nearly mile-long tunnel will be able to carry 26,000 gallons of storm water per second beneath the town emptying into the Patapsco River.

A $75 million, low-interest loan from the federal government will allow the county to begin the design phase for the project this fall.

MORE: Ellicott City's "1,000-year" Flood Explained

“The most recent devastating events in 2011, 2016 and 2018 demonstrated to all of us that Ellicott City needed a plan that would truly protect it for future generations and not just a Band-Aid,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said.

Four years ago, on the heels of two 1,000-year floods, Ball unseated Former County Executive Allen Kittleman by pledging to save as many of the historic buildings in Ellicott City as possible.

To date, all of the buildings remain, but Kittleman, who is now a Republican candidate seeking to reclaim the office, said it’s because little has been done to address the flooding.

“We had a terrible scare last year with Hurricane Ida, just missed us by a little bit,” said Kittleman, “Had that come through Ellicott City, we would have had a horrendous flood again. People can’t wait any longer, and our county executive hasn’t made it a priority.”

Still, Ball said his plan will produce one of the most transformative projects that public works has ever tackled in the county once it is completed.