New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam

The New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam is located on the Savannah River, about 13 miles downstream from the City of Augusta, Georgia.

The Savannah River has an uneven depth, moving sandbars, and eroding banks. Efforts to control the river for navigation began in the 1850s. As river traffic increased in the 1880s, more work was done to clear a navigable channel between Augusta and Savannah. Finally, in 1935 the City of Augusta and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) took on their largest river improvement project, the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam.

Construction started with more than 250 men. Many lived on the construction site, in houses on the Georgia side of the river. They built a 360-foot long lock, and five lift gates that raised more than 17 feet. The New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam was officially dedicated on June 26, 1937. Although efforts to control the river continued, the lock stopped commercial operations in 1979.

Workers place concrete onsite, 1935.
What is a dam? A dam is a barrier that limits water flow.
What is a lock? A lock is a chamber that raises and lowers boats between stretches of water of different depths.
View of the site before improvements. Note the sand bar and eroded banks, 1934.
Workers flood the coffer dam, 1935.