Botanical Parkway is on the mend after being destroyed by 2015 flood

The repair of Botanical Parkway is the most expensive, post-flood fix in Lexington County.

The West Columbia road over Double Branch Creek leads to the entrance of Riverbanks Zoo, via the Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Parkway repairs

Botanical Parkway, destroyed by last year’s floods, is close to being fully repaired. (Photo by Terry Ward)

A year after the historic October floods, the road’s repair is progressing, with completion finally in sight. The latest estimates are the road should be fixed and reopened in the next two to three weeks, and no later than the end of November.

That’s good news for zoo visitors and local residents. But getting to this point hasn’t come cheap.

“It will be the most expensive to repair” of all the county’s numerous flood-damaged roads, said Lexington County Engineer Joey Derby.

When all is said and done, construction costs for the county road, Derby said, will be in the $600,000-to-$700,000 range. Associated costs could be around $200,000 more.

The county applied for and is receiving Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to help pay the cost to fix the road.

On Oct. 4, 2015, during the deluge, a 6-foot culvert installed under the road collapsed from the onslaught of raging water. Sometime after 9 a.m. that morning, residents in the area said they heard a loud crashing sound. When the road was inspected, the culvert was found to be smashed and the asphalt on the top layer washed away.

Botanical Parkway 2

Photo by Terry Ward

The foundation failed under the culvert and the site has been completely re-engineered so it will be more substantial, should a flood threaten it again.

The engineering work took six months, and the road has had to be rebuilt from the bottom up, Derby said.

The repair work includes a concrete structure underneath the road and concrete rails to make it more secure than before.

Last October, the S.C. National Guard cleaned the site of debris to aid water flow. The Guard also put rocks on the bank for stabilization.

Derby said over the summer that the road could be fixed by the end of this month, and a lot has been done. However, the state also has been in the path of hurricanes Hermine and Matthew. Bad weather from those storms has slowed progress on lots of construction projects, including the Parkway.

While the road was closed, some industrious beavers took advantage of the lack of traffic, and constructed a dam on the creek. However, the work of the beavers has been removed to make way for the improved road.