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High Ground Access Points

Public safety is the top priority of the Ball Administration, not only in Ellicott City but across Howard County. That is why the Ball Administration is moving forward with flood mitigation projects that will take significant amounts of water off of Main Street during severe weather events. However, it is still important to have tools available that can help people to safety when severe weather strikes. The outdoor tone alert system, along with the existing wireless emergency alert system, stream monitoring devices, and other communications channels are part of a comprehensive system working together to protect public safety.

The National Weather Service advises that when flooding occurs, the best thing to do is exit the floodplain if it is safe to do so. The High Ground Access Points, detailed on the map below are meant to show ways to exit the floodplain at different points on Main Street. It is important to note that due to the unpredictable nature of floods, some routes may be impassable.

In 2019, "High Ground" signs were placed along Main Street identifying routes out of the floodplain. In each parking lot in Old Ellicott City, informational signs were installed explaining the access points. The Ball Administration also be provided signs, table tents, and window clings that businesses can display to provide this important information to their customers.

Private Access Point Gates

In addition to the High Ground Access Points, the County has agreements with two property owners in Historic Ellicott City (8044 and 8060 Main Street) on private property that allow people to quickly get off Main Street in the event of a severe weather emergency. Each point has a staircase that leads to a space above Main Street where people can wait out severe weather more safely. These two gates remain secured during non-emergency times but will automatically open in the event of high-water and/or the issuance of a Flash Flood Warning in Historic Ellicott City. 

The gates can be opened by the County’s public safety team remotely and on-site. Additionally, the gates are equipped with high water sensors, and a pin code can be used to unlock the gates if needed. Community members and visitors are advised to call 9-1-1 to request the pin code if they need to seek higher ground, and the gates are locked.

Where are the Access Points and Gates?

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What do the Signs Look Like?

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Frequently Asked Questions