Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus is excited that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday they will fund the $300,000 feasibility study of repairs and updates to the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam.
"This is great news, actually," Bonitatibus said. "The Lock and Dam is in disrepair. That's something that Augusta, North Augusta and we've all known for quite a while."
The announcement comes after years of ongoing negotiations between local, state and federal officials to determine how to fund the necessary study.
"The core of engineers very clearly, a couple of years ago, said they were not going to fix it but it needed a study in order for Augusta and North Augusta to come forward and figure out what needs to be fixed and how do we move forward," said Bonitatibus.
The dam was initially put in as a navigation piece to get the barges to Downtown Augusta but since the dam is no longer used for this purpose, the Core of Engineers said it was no longer its responsibility to fix it.
"That's been the argument over the last couple of years," said Bonitatibus. "With the cities saying 'we want to keep the dam because we like the lake in Downtown Augusta.'"
Bonitatibus said there is some money set aside to help with funding repairs, once the study determines what needs to be fixed.