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Pittsburgh District to demolish dam in Monongahela River after more than 100 years of navigation

Posted on May 1, 2024

PITTSBURGH – After more than 100 years of operation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District will demolish the navigation dam near Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, to improve navigation on the Monongahela River.

The Monongahela River Locks and Dam 3 have been operating since 1907, but the facility is prone to flooding and must therefore be shut down during high-water events. Removing the dam will create a continuous pool of riverway stretching 30 miles.

District contractors will begin demolition the dam the week of July 8, 2024, using explosives to control demolition. The district will restrict navigation near Elizabeth for at least three days. Work to remove the dam entirely will continue through the end of the year.

“Our primary concern is maintaining safe navigation throughout the demolition phase,” said Steve Fritz, the district’s megaproject program manager.

Until the entire dam is removed, and until the Corps verifies the navigation channel is safe through that area, all traffic will have to continue to go through the lock.

The Pittsburgh District will begin to remove the lock chamber walls next year, which is expected to last until 2027.

Removing the dam will raise the river’s water levels by approximately two feet for communities between Elizabeth and Braddock. The river elevation will drop by approximately 3.2 feet between Elizabeth and the dam in Charleroi. The demolition will result in the pool level reaching 723.7 feet between Charleroi and Braddock.


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