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Hampton spending millions to prevent flooding

The City of Hampton will start three major flood prevention projects next year.

HAMPTON, Va. — The harsh reality across Hampton Roads is that flooding will happen again and again. The City of Hampton will be spending $12 million on three major flood prevention projects. 

Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck said the flooding prevention projects were years in the making.  

“Trying to slow the water down, store it and redirect the water if possible or at least adapt to where the water is going," said Tuck. 

Mayor Tuck said the city’s Resilient Hampton Initiative, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and Quantified Ventures came up with designs that will improve roadways and also add vegetation to help the environment. The goal for the projects is to prevent flooding by storing the runoff water. 

“Capture some 8.6 million gallons of stormwater runoff and if you think about 8.6 million gallons being taking off our streets, being taken out of neighborhoods it will have a significant impact," said Tuck. 

Credit: City of Hampton

On Thursday, Tuck and his partners released the details of each project. Below are excerpts from the release: 

  • Big Bethel Blueway: A green infrastructure project that will store and slow water through the redesign of existing waterways in order to reduce flooding upstream and downstream in Newmarket Creek. The project creates stormwater storage through the expansion of the main drainage channel, the addition of bioretention cells to backyard drainage swales, and the installation of several weirs in the channel. Newly planted vegetation on the channel banks will filter and slow stormwater runoff before it reaches the waterways. Future funding will transform the existing maintenance path into a recreation trail with additional stormwater storage capacity.
  • North Armistead Avenue Road Raising and Green Infrastructure: This road raising project will eliminate chronic flooding on a major thoroughfare and evacuation route, improving transportation reliability to Joint Base Langley-Eustis and key economic centers. In connection with the road raising, green infrastructure will be installed in the median and on the road shoulders to help slow, store, and redirect stormwater within the space adjacent to the elevated roadway.
  • Lake Hampton: This project involves the transformation of a detention pond into a purposefully-designed stormwater park with enhanced stormwater storage capacity. The project will raise the height of the dam and weir to greatly increase potential storage volume, as well as install a series of smaller detention basins with wetland plantings to slow, store, and clean runoff from North Armistead Avenue before it enters the lake.

Families who live near North Armistead Avenue have had flooding too many times. 

Hampton homeowner Anthony Ford shared a cellphone video with 13News Now showing the street in front of his home flooded and the water levels up to the rims of his two vehicles. 

“It was very difficult trying to get into a vehicle when both sides of my car was flooded with water," said Ford. 

Ford moved near North Armistead Avenue this year.

“Been here since February and realizing that’s something that needs to be taken care of," said Ford. 

Hampton is the first city in Virginia to fund a project through an Environmental Impact Bond. According to the release the EIB definition is below: 

"The EIB is a type of bond that predicts, measures, and discloses the outcomes of funded projects to bondholders with respect to specific environmental and socioeconomic metrics chosen by the City beforehand."

Mayor Tuck said eventually the City will use storm funds to pay for some of this project. 

“Last year voted to raise stormwater fee -- I think it’s a dollar per household and I think it’s a dollar per month -- but the idea is that the stormwater fees will be used to pay off these bonds," said Tuck. 

Ford may have to wait until he notices improvements. Project construction will start in the fall of 2021 and be completed in about three years.