A recent article on a community meeting to address the flooding concerns in the Mossy Oaks area indicated that some individuals believe that the construction of the Spanish Moss Trail on the Port Royal Railroad right of way to the west of the community was responsible for the flooding. This is not correct.
The railroad was constructed on this alignment in the 1870s and a crossing of the marsh section was installed at that time. While it may have been a trestle in the beginning, I know from personal experience that it has been a culvert for more than 30 years. I lived on West Royal Oaks Drive from 1986 to 1992 and thereafter on Brotherhood Way. Conversations with lifetime residents of Beaufort confirm those observations.
When the Spanish Moss Trail was constructed in this section in 2013, the contractor simply graded the existing surface of the berm and installed a 12-foot wide strip of concrete. No changes were made to the culvert or to the marsh on either side.
This is not to say that the berm itself may not be a factor in the flooding since the existing culvert may be too small or installed at the wrong elevation. The city of Beaufort and its partners are conducting a full analysis of the entire situation and presumably will evaluate this along with many other factors.
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Whatever their findings, I can assure everyone that the construction of the trail was not responsible for the flooding in the Mossy Oaks area.
The writer is volunteer executive director, Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail.