Alexandria discusses longterm plan to address Old Town ‘nuisance’ flooding

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- For years flooding has been an issue along the low lying areas near the waterfront in Old Town, Alexandria.

While restaurants have said it is a huge inconvenience for diners, the city says they have a plan to keep the waters at bay, eventually.

"We had to close down half of the patio. Literally you couldn't sit there because there was water flooding half of it.", said Edward Bailey, manager of Virtue Feed and Grain.

He said that when he arrived to work Tuesday morning, their entire outdoor patio area had been flooded by so-called 'nuisance flooding' caused by high tides and exacerbated by recent heavy rainfall.

Tuesday afternoon, Alexandria Police had tweeted out pictures of the roads and sidewalks, warning drivers and pedestrians to stay away from the area.

"It's more about King Street being flooded and that's what really got us because people get off the trolley and they can't walk through and they're like never mind, I'm going to stop over there because you can't, you really can’t walk through the waters.", explained Bailey.

This 'nuisance flooding' has been long been a problem, but something the City of Alexandria has been working to fix, since the implementation of the waterfront plan introduced in 2015.

Mitchell Bernstein is the Director of Project Implementation for the city.
He said, "We'll be building a bulkhead along the waterfront and on top of that, we're going to put a promenade as an amenity, so we'll have a continuous walk around the waterfront from Jones Point Park all the way up to Canal Center Plaza."

It's part of the city's flood mitigation plan which is on track to be completed by 2023... and includes an interim park at King and Union Streets.

Bernstein said that once the work is completed the impact to businesses will greatly decrease and hopefully bring in more investment to the waterfront.

"We're only going to be protecting to a six-foot elevation, but that would reduce this flooding to approximately four times a year.", said Bernstein.

It's a plan Bailey said that he can get behind, saying, "I think that would be great.. That would help out a lot because this happens all the time."



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