Richmond’s floodwall has been waiting to protect Shockoe Bottom + Manchester from disaster since its completion in 1995. We dove into the history of the project.
- 1972 | Hurricane Agnes brings record flooding to downtown Richmond — 28 feet above flood stage at the City Locks along Dock Street.
- 1986 | Congress passes the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, which authorized the project and shared the cost between the city + the Norfolk District of the Army Corps of Engineers.
- 1995 | The floodwall is completed.
- 1996 | The James reaches a crest of 23.8 feet during September’s Hurricane Fran.
- 2020 | The city closed floodwall gates for the first time in over two decades in anticipation of historic flooding.
🌊 By the numbers
- 19 | The number of floodwall gates. There has never been a situation where all of the gates have been closed.
- 4,277 and 13,046 | The lengths of the north + south sides of the wall.
- 750 | The number of acres of low-lying land the wall protects.
- 22,000 | How many cubic yards of concrete the wall is made of. There’s also 1,050 tons of reinforcing steel + 55,000 linear feet of steel piles.
- 32 | The number of feet of river flooding the wall was built to withstand.
DPU maintains the floodwall and checks pump stations daily. The floodwall is tested on an annual basis, most recently in early June.
If you want to see infrastructure history firsthand, a-rain-ge a trip to Floodwall Park. Run, walk, bike, or just watch the river from the top of the wall. Pro tip: The trail can connect with the Richmond Slave Trail, the Canal Walk, and the Belle Isle Pedestrian Bridge.