AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- Most of us in the CSRA don’t know much about the wall that runs beneath the Savannah River for a mile and a half.
But Brian Meehan does. He’s a diver who’s had a fish eye view of the wall for years. He says it consists of a wall of rocks buttresses by two rows of vertical wooden poles bundled together.
The wall was erected about a 100 years ago to deepen the river before dredging.
“That wall stopped serving its original purpose,” said Tonya Bonitatibus of Savannah Riverkeeper. “Since then we’ve built the lock and dam, which means that it went underwater. So it is an underwater hazard. And it’s just kind of sat there for a really long time.”
You wouldn’t notice the wall unless you hit it. Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus says people run into every year. Some think it’s a safety hazard.
Bonitatibus says it needs to go.
“If we can bring the river down, especially before the changes happen at the lock and dam, and go ahead and get rid of it, and cut it pretty easily, it might not be that expensive,” she said.
But Meehan and riverfront property owner Lowell Greenbaum say the last time the water level was brought down to where the wall was exposed it was a disaster.
“When they dropped the river down, that water pressure’s no longer pushing up against the banks,” Meehan said. “And the banks are going to start moving.”
As for moving the entire wall?
“It would just be way too expensive,” Meehan said. “We’ve got a problem with the lock and dam. Nobody’s got money to fix the lock and dam…surely they don’t have money to…the millions of dollars it would cost to remove this wall.”
Another issue with moving it would be sediment that’s built up for years along that jetty.
Meehan says that seawall isn’t the biggest issue along the river and moving it would be a massive undertaking.
He says the community would be better served by making sure the water levels stay high.
“You’re not going to get rid of it,” he said.
Bonitatibus says Savannah Riverkeeper hopes to get permission from the federal government to remove the wall.