VIRGINA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Hannibal Street at Country Club Circle in Virginia Beach will be closed for seven years due to the construction of the Bow Creek Stormwater Park. The 120-acre former Bow Creek Golf Course will be converted into a stormwater management facility and a multiuse park.

The street closure began Tuesday, Aug. 1. It will be closed to through traffic in order to safely facilitate the volume of material export for the project.

The city had been looking to make improvements to the area’s stormwater infrastructure since 2013, but after those areas were one of the hardest-hit areas and badly flooded after Hurricane Matthew in 2016 damaged some 800 homes, the calls for a solution grew louder. Flooding took place in those areas, said Richard Martinec, a senior engineer with Virginia Beach Public Works, because of a lack of stormwater storage there.

“The Bow Creek Golf Course (closure) worked out perfectly because it’s pretty much in the center of the area and it is one of the lower points in the area,” Martinec said. “So the stormwater naturally migrates to this area, so it gives the area the stormwater storage capacity it needs for rain storms and rain events.”

These areas have experienced severe flooding. This project will be critical to mitigating the issue, which is blamed on low elevations coupled with increasing sea levels and increasing frequency of storms.

“Its number one (purpose) is going to be to hold stormwater in the event of a rainstorm,” said Martinec. “It’s also going to be transformed into a park – a park that’s going to have shared-use paths, a mountain bike trails, nature trails, kayak launches, pickleball courts, volleyball courts, a water-play area, and a bunch of landscaping and viewing blinds out there for people to view wildlife.”

10 On Your Side has been following the progress of this project for years. Back in 2019, city engineers and private engineering firm Michael Baker announced the proposal to convert the 121-acre city-owned Bow Creek Golf Course into stormwater storage.

The concept is the additional pond storage for rainwater will help alleviate flooding in the surrounding neighborhoods.

A groundbreaking ceremony to officially mark the start of the project was held on Friday, July 28.

The closure will be in place until approximately July 2030.