Town teams up with NC Coastal Federation for stormwater improvement effort

BEAUFORT, N.C. (WITN) – One coastal town in Eastern Carolina is doing what it can to lessen the impacts storms have on its infrastructure.

In Beaufort, Cedar Street is one of the main thoroughfares for the community, but the roadway was worn out. Kyle Garner, Beaufort’s planning director, said several people noticed the area held onto rainwater after storms.

Over the last few years, the town has been working on a plan to change the landscape of the road following the announcement of the Highway 70 bypass.

“It started from a concept of reducing the lanes down from four lanes to two lanes,” Garner said, “including parking and also adding some stormwater elements.”

Improving the infrastructure under the street was one of the biggest components for Cedar Street’s makeover.

“The project actually started by replacing or lining the sanitary sewer that’s located under the street, all of the water lines that were under the street were replaced,” said Greg Meshaw, town engineer.

NC DOT was involved in the massive project and was responsible for replacing all the stormwater pipes.

The North Carolina Coastal Federation was also involved and helped design some of the improvements the town of Beaufort made to the roadway. Now experts say the stormwater no longer has a direct route to coastal waters.

“These bioswales have more storage capacity for stormwater while also kind of providing that green space so the plants and soil are able to kind of soak up the water so it’s not running straight off into the creek,” said Water Quality Program Director Bree Charron, PE.

The Coastal Federation hopes that more communities will see that projects like this are possible and will work toward reducing stormwater runoff, which is a crucial part of keeping coastal waters healthy.

“The town of Beaufort is the perfect example of pairing big capital improvement projects with green street improvements, you know you’re already budgeting for those big projects so how can we pair those improvements with water quality improvements at the same time,” Charron said.