Chester County plans bridge for flood-prone road

CHESTER -- Chester County's most flood-prone rural road is a step closer to getting the bridge it needs.

Raxter Road, a dead-end road in the Richburg area, typically floods several times each year when Tinker Creek swells.

The creek's waters are funneled under the road through a culvert drainpipe, but the pipe is too small to handle the amount of water that typically comes with a downpour. The flooding affects about 10 families.

"For those of you who haven't been down this road, it's bad," Councilman Brad Jordan said at this week's Chester County Council meeting.

During that meeting, a representative from Rock Hill engineering firm Williams Engineering told county leaders that after studying options for fixing the flooding problems, the company determined that building a 130-foot bridge over the creek was a more efficient option than creating four large culverts to move the water.

In May, county leaders accepted a grant package worth $137,000 to develop a plan for easing the flooding problems of Raxter Road, but that money did not include construction costs.

Construction expenses are estimated at $736,000, but that work cannot be done until money is in place. The next step in the process will be designing the bridge and getting the proper federal permits.

"It's too early for us now to push Columbia or anybody for that other grant," said Chester County Emergency Management Director Eddie Murphy, adding that in July or August "we'll be putting the pressure on them."

Because the county already has received some grant money for the first part of project, officials are confident they can find the funding for the next phase.

"The odds are in our favor for the next level," Murphy said.

For years, Raxter Road's water woes have plagued county leaders. Built across Tinker Creek, the road was initially a private developer's issue.

The county took responsibility for the road around 2000, so it's now the county's problem every time a fast, hard rain saturates the area and causes the creek to wash over the gravel road.

In emergency situations, fire and rescue workers have transported people across the flooded road in a firetruck made from a military surplus vehicle.