Two Northwest D.C. neighborhoods that are prone to flash flooding could soon get some relief.
On Friday, Mayor Vincent Gray and other officials have announced the city is breaking ground on a major infrastructure project. The project will help prevent the rash of flash flooding that damaged homes and business in Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park last summer.
The extensive project involves the former McMillan filtration site and a underground tunnels around First Street.
The digging has already begun at the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue and First Street in Northwest.
Work crews are making room for tunnels that will be six blocks in length and will eventually be able to store six million gallons of storm water and sewage.
Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie has been one of the main D.C. officials pushing the plan for his ward.
"This particular component is going to bring some structural changes to the First Street corridor and Rhode Island corridor, and it's going to have a direct impact on the flooding that has been occurring over the summer, and quite frankly decades in the Bloomingdale, LeDroit park neighborhoods," he says.
FOX 5 has learned the flood relief plan also involves converting facilities on the old McMillan filtration site into storage tanks that are capable of holding three million gallons of runoff.
The entire project is expected to cost at least $40 million more than previous plans.
Councilmember McDuffie says another component is the reimbursement of homeowners for damage by adding 30 cents to monthly water bills. The bill has already passed a first reading.
"It has been controversial, but you know what? Those folks have been seeking relief for quite some time now," says McDuffie.
It's a multi-pronged project that's expected to take several years to complete, but in the end, should help bring some long-term flood relief to weary Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park residents.
The McMillan storage tanks could be completed by 2014 and the First Street tunnel by 2016. Under the plan, the entire project would be completed by 2022.
The infrastructure announcement took place Friday at 10 a.m. at the McMillan Sand Filtration Plant Site.