SAVANNAH, Ga. – An underwater wall installed in the Savannah River in Augusta, Georgia, more than a century ago will be the subject of a just-funded study by the Corps of Engineers’ Savannah District. The so-called “training wall” in the Savannah River runs from just downstream of 8th Street and ends 1,800 feet downstream of Boathouse Community Center. It aided commercial shipping in the 20th century by keeping the navigation channel deep for the port in Augusta on the Georgia side of the river.
“Today the training wall no longer serves a federal purpose,” said Beth Williams, Savannah District chief of Hydraulics and Hydrology. “In fact, many point out that it is an impediment to navigation and that its presence increases the risks to water-borne activities for its nearly 2-mile-long length of the river in the downtown Augusta area.”
Officials are scheduled to determine if Federal interest in the existing navigation no longer exists and the project remains a candidate for a disposition study in approximately 60 days. One of the potential outcomes of the study is a recommendation to remove the wall at full federal expense. Removing the training wall could also lead to removal of built up sediment behind it along the North Augusta, South Carolina, portion of the river. Clearing away the sediment behind the training wall would alleviate hazardous obstructions, deepen water levels, and potentially remove unsightly mudflats. If the study recommends removal of the training wall, the execution would require an appropriation from congress to complete the work.
The training wall originally installed in 1902, forced more water into the main river channel in order to keep that area clear for commercial traffic. Commercial use of the Savannah River ended in 1979 and maintenance of the river as a commercial waterway also ended that year.
This disposition study is separate from the study underway concerning the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam and the proposed fish passage at the dam’s location.
– 30 –
Release no. 19-019