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Reclamation starts Savage Rapids Dam removal

The Bureau of Reclamation announced today that demolition of bays one through six of Savage Rapids Dam is currently scheduled to begin the week of June 1.

The contractor, Slayden Construction Group, plans to use hydraulic excavators with demolition attachments to break the concrete which will then be loaded into trucks and hauled from the site for disposal.

The cofferdams, constructed in April, will provide a dry working environment for the demolition work. Although the downstream cofferdam was damaged during the high flows in early May, the remaining portion of the cofferdam is adequate to protect the job site.

Motorists are advised to be aware of heavy equipment entering and exiting Foothill Boulevard in the area adjacent to the construction site and to be cautious of congestion and pedestrian traffic on Highway 99 near the dam.

Plans call for breaching the coffer dams and diverting the river through the demolished portion of the dam by October. Removal of two additional bays and other remaining construction should be completed by mid December 2009.

The new Savage Rapids Pumping Plant is now supplying water to Grants Pass Irrigation District customers.

The total estimated project cost is $39.3 million, with $3 million for dam removal provided by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.

The Grants Pass Irrigation District constructed Savage Rapids Dam in 1921, to divert water for irrigation. An amended 2001 Federal Court Consent Decree required the District to cease using the dam for water diversions by the end of the 2008 irrigation season. Congress subsequently authorized Reclamation to construct the Savage Rapids Pumping Plant to supply water to the district.

Additional information on project construction can be found by selecting the Savage Rapids Dam Removal update link in the center of the web page at: www.usbr.gov/pn.


Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Web site: www.usbr.gov.