The frequency and severity of storms impacting coastal Virginia have increased significantly in recent years. This has created a chronic flooding problem in many areas along the Chesapeake Bay, the largest natural estuary in the U.S., particularly in Virginia Beach.
Of the 16 coastal storms of record in Virginia Beach, 10 have occurred in the last 20 years. During one six-week period in 2016, Virginia Beach experienced 35-inches of rainfall from three storms, or more than two-thirds of the region’s average annual rainfall.
In an effort to prepare the community against the threat of extreme weather, the City of Virginia Beach created the Eastern Shore Drive Drainage Improvements Project. As part of the project team, WSP USA is providing multiple services, including hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, infrastructure improvement alternatives evaluation, preliminary through final design, preparation of construction bid documents, environmental permitting, public participation services, and construction support.
“WSP is closely evaluating historical and projected trends in rainfall precipitation, sea level rise and extreme weather to anticipate future conditions and develop a flexible, innovative, comprehensive and future-ready infrastructure improvement plan,” said Glenn Bottomley, who is serving as WSP’s project manager for the first phase of the Eastern Shore Drive Drainage Improvements. “This plan will require a $40 million multi-phased construction program that integrates the city budgeting constraints and prioritizes the phases that provide the greatest degree of flood protection and benefits.”
“The project will provide a safer environment for citizens of Virginia Beach and an enhanced quality of life by protecting against extreme weather impacts,” added Tom Gay, lead project engineer for WSP. “The resilient infrastructure improvements will also allow the community to quickly recover from significant storm events that are greater than the design storm level of protection.”