Army Corps calls for removal of wall in Savannah River

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Monday, April 6, 2020

A so-called training wall is submerged in the downtown stretch of the Savannah River.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The Army Corps of Engineers recommends removing a submerged wall in the downtown section of the Savannah River between Augusta, Ga., and North Augusta, S.C.

The 1.5-mile-long submerged wall and sediment deposited behind it form an obstruction to recreational boaters and other river users.

Removal of the so-called training wall, if approved as recommended, will require funding by Congress. It is projected to cost $5.42 million.

The proposal was released Monday, winning praise from Savannah Riverkeeper.

“The retaining wall is long overdue for removal,” the nonprofit said. “The wall has ripped boat motors from boats, caused damage to property, and has even claimed a number of lives throughout the years.”

With the dam’s removal, all docks behind the wall will become deeper, as removing the wall will also remove/wash away the sediment from behind it, according to Savannah Riverkeeper. The South Carolina side of the river through downtown will move faster and run deeper, continuing to benefit the boaters, dock owners, and those using the river for recreation, according to the organization. Weed patches and invasive plants will not survive as well in the swifter waters.

“The wall’s removal will make our river more navigable, safer, and more accessible,” the organization said.

The public comment period on the proposal will run through May 5.

You can read the Army Corps’ study at https://www.sas.usace.army.mil/About/Divisions-and-Offices/Planning-Division/Plans-and-Reports and submit comments to Send EmailCESAS-PD.SAS@usace.army.mil.

The retaining wall was constructed in the early 1900s to enhance the Port of Augusta. The goal was to deepen water and focus the current on the Augusta side of the river for port traffic.The project was successful, but created a barrier for sediment and dirt, causing sandbars and weed patches to collect largely on the South Carolina side of the wall.

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