Hurricane Agnes Caused Flooding In Frederick 50 Years Ago

Carroll Creek Linear Park (Photo from City of Frederick)

The Carroll Creek Flood Control project was built many years later.

Frederick, Md. (KM) – The city of Frederick experienced a lot of flooding when Tropical Storm Agnes came through in June, 1972, 50 yeas ago. But it wasn’t Agnes that led to the construction of the Carroll Creek Flood Control Project. “There was significant flooding in 1976 that severely damaged much of the downtown along the Carroll Creek area and that was the impetus for the Carroll Creek Flood Control Project,” says Zack Kershner, the City’s Director of Public Works.

Construction of the Carroll Creek Flood Control Project began in 1985, and was completed by 1991.

Kershner says the project consists of four 20-foot by 20-foot culverts called conduits that run underground from an intake at Baker Park and Carroll Parkway through the downtown, crossing east under Patrick Street under the west side of the Fairgrounds. They continue into the grassy area and discharge into Carroll Creek on the other side of Highland Street.

During heavy rains, the project diverts floodwaters from the downtown to Baker Park, and other grassy areas and parks. “So it’s designed to handle up to what’s called the 100-year storm. It can convey about 13,000 cubic feet per second. For a massive storm of that magnitude, it should protect the downtown from significant flooding and damages,” he says.

Kershner says this project proved itself during 2018 heavy rains and flooding.  . “Baker Park is actually designed to be a holding area for floodwater,” he says. “And the flood control project itself performed as designed and protected the downtown.”

A large project such as this does undergo periodic maintenance. “We on a yearly basis actually the walk the project, inspect the various pieces of infrastructure,” says Kershner. “We also have multiple stormwater pump stations that help protect some of the low lying areas adjacent to the project. And all of them, of course, require ongoing maintenance.”

The Carroll Creek Flood Control Project took 130 acres of land in Downtown Frederick out of the floodplain, and a lot of this land became available for development.

“Agnes highlighted the dangers of inland flooding in Maryland from tropical storms,” says Russ Strickland, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Emergency Management, in a statement. “The aftermath of Agnes has also shown the  importance of mitigating future flood events. In downtown Frederick, for example, the Carroll Creek flood mitigation project has reduced flooding in the area and  has created a walkable green space that enhances the business district.”

By Kevin McManus