As part of his Safe and Sound plan, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced his decision on a comprehensive flood mitigation plan for Ellicott City. Last month, Ball presented the five best options to address flooding and solicited public comment from residents, both online and at a community meeting.

Since, Ball announced his final decision, Option 3G.7.0. The plan includes a range of key projects, including a North Tunnel, that will decrease flood depths and ensure public safety.

The Ball administration stated that the previous administration’s plan left 4.5 feet of water on Main Street during a 100-year level storm and called for 10 buildings to demolished; and that his plan will leave less than a foot of water on Main Street in the same scenario, and only calls for four buildings to be demolished. Those buildings are the Phoenix Emporium, Discoveries, Bean Hollow, and Great Panes Art Glass Studio. Once the county acquires these buildings, they will begin the Section 106 process with the goal of salvaging as much of the buildings’ historic character as possible.

Individual projects in the plan are already underway, with the goal of completing the entire plan in five years. The current estimates for cost, spread over five years and including building demolitions, run between $113.5 and $140.5 million.

Within the next year, the county will begin construction on the Quaker Mill mitigation pond, design the Maryland Avenue culverts, acquire West End properties, finish design of the Emory and Church Street drainage improvements, put out a request for proposal for the North Tunnel, and more. A national team of experts from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will also conduct an independent review of the plan.