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Next phase of work on Embrey Dam will take 11/2 years
The crib dam's remains loom over the free-flowing Rappahannock River upstream from Embrey Dam the morning after E-Day.
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Date published: 2/25/2004
By RUSTY DENNEN
Now that Fredericksburg's Embrey Dam is breached, the formidable job of dismantling the rest of the massive concrete structure begins.
Army divers on Monday took out about 130 feet of the dam, but the vast majority--another 640 feet--must be torn down by a contractor over the next 18 months or so.
About $2.5 million in federal funds have been appropriated each year for the past few years for the dam-removal project. The total price tag is expected to be about $10 million.
Brian Rheinhart, the project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Norfolk, said yesterday that bids for the next phase of the project will go out next month.
To facilitate restoration of the Rappahannock River, a road will be built from the sediment containment area on the Fredericksburg shore to the dam.
"That should get started sometime in April," said Rheinhart.
Prior to the dam breach, 250,000 cubic yards of sediment was dredged from behind the dam and deposited in the containment area behind the Bragg Hill Apartments.
This spring, work will begin to plug the upper end of the Rappahannock Canal. The canal was fed by the water behind the dam.
Now that the water source to the canal is gone, the corps plans to pump water into the lower end of the canal from the tidal portion of the Rappahannock. The water will be aerated so that it will not stagnate, or attract mosquitoes.
Work will get started on the aeration system, to be installed on the canal floor, next month.
Another phase of the project will get started as well. Embrey Dam, the riverbed around it, and an 1855 crib dam, are all now exposed for the first time since 1910. Archaeologists will come in to study and report on both dams. A section of the crib dam, constructed of yellow pine timbers, was breached a couple weeks before Embrey Dam to make way for migratory fish. The crib dam lies a short distance upstream from Embrey Dam.
Pieces of the crib dam have been floating downstream and many of them have been recovered by salvagers who plan to use the old-growth timber.