Army Corps of Engineers holds public workshop on lock and dam plan

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019
News 12 @ 11

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A big turn out at the Augusta Marriott as the Army Corps of Engineers hosted its public workshop on its plan for the Lock and Dam.

Many people were expecting an open forum setting for the workshop, where they could get their questions answered in front of everyone. They did not get that. They Corps was worried it could get heated, saying they were not there to defend or justify their plan, rather to inform the public.

Dozens of riverfront neighbors and city leaders poured in to hear from the Corps for the first time since November.

"This was at least three times the amount of people we had at previous engagements," said Colonel Daniel Hibner, Commander of the Savannah District of the Army Corps of Engineers.

So many people showed up they had to get extra chairs. After that, it was standing room only. Tyler Snead made up his mind during the drawdown.

"Myself and a lot of other people realized the rock weir is not gonna be the answer we're looking for," said Snead.

That's why he and so many others showed up to get answers, bringing their questions, their concerns, and sometimes their frustrations.

"If they implement that program, there's no way we can enjoy the same recreation that we have for so many years on the Savannah," said Snead.

"Of course there's some angst and some frustration. That's absolutely understandable," said Col. Hibner.

The Corps says they didn't come to defend or justify their plan and that their plan might not even be THE plan.

"This is just a recommended plan, this is not THE plan. That decision is yet to be made, that's why we're doing the public comment period," said Col. Hibner.

With just 41 days remaining in the comment period, the Corps says they do want something that works for everyone.

"We're all interested in finding a solution that works for the local populus," said Col. Hibner.

The Corps says the extended comment period is not making their timeline delayed. It will only make them work faster. They have to start construction on the final plan by January 2021.