ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today provided a critical update on the comprehensive EC Safe and Sound Flood Mitigation plan in a video release. The Extended North Tunnel is the largest and most impactful flood mitigation component of the EC Safe and Sound plan, and it is nearing design completion. While the tunnel will soon be ready for construction, costs have risen due to the impacts of inflation across the nation.
Ensuring a vibrant and safe future of Ellicott City remains worthy of every dollar that we have invested. While we understood the sizable investment required when we began this project in 2019, we could not foresee the present inflationary pressures straining household and organizational budgets here and nationally. I remain hopeful and determined that our EC Safe and Sound plan is the right path forward to safeguard Ellicott City for our residents, businesses, visitors, and community. From the beginning, we knew that this plan would not be easy. We knew it was complex, but we knew it was the right thing to do and will make Ellicott City a national model for communities across the country.
In the last year, construction and building costs in Maryland have increased by nearly 15 percent and more than 21 percent respectively. These external economic factors have increased the price of the Extended North Tunnel by more than 25 percent since the project’s inception in 2019.
The Extended North Tunnel, approximately 5,000 feet long and 18 feet in diameter, will carry 26,000 gallons of stormwater per second. It will move water away from streets and foundations of Ellicott City and the West End and directly into the Patapsco River. The Extended North Tunnel is one of seven flood mitigation projects in the EC Safe and Sound Plan.
Ball announced the EC Safe and Sound plan in December of 2018, just weeks after taking office. Since then, despite the global pandemic, various critical safety measures have been implemented. They include:
- The installation of high ground signage throughout Main Street;
- The completion of an outdoor tone alert system; and
- The establishment of a stream debris cleaning program to remove debris from waterways in and around Ellicott City, which has resulted in the productive removal of over 31 tons of debris since implementation.
In October, Ball cut the ribbon on the H-7 Dry Mitigation Pond, which is the largest Ellicott City flood mitigation project constructed to date. The pond, constructed on state land in a clover-leaf interchange at the intersection of Route 29 and Route 40/Baltimore National Pike in Ellicott City, can hold enough runoff to cover a football field to the height of 10 feet.
In a few weeks, the Quaker Mill Pond is expected to reach completion. Once complete, this project will provide approximately 10-acre-feet of storage, which is the equivalent of nearly 3.3 million gallons of water. The Quaker Mill Pond will be the second major flood mitigation retention project to be completed.
For more information on the EC Safe and Sound Plan, please visit the website here.