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Woodside Removes Siltation Before Embrey Dam Breaching

Woodside Construction dredged about 300,000 cubic yards of material from the Rappahannock River (Virginia), River Mile 109, in preparation for demolition and removal of Embrey Dam. They used a 10-inch Ellicott 370 dredge for the job. The material is mostly sand and gravel, which tested at safe or undetectable levels of contaminants.

The dam consists of an original wooden crib dam, built in 1855, and a 1070-foot-long concrete dam 60 feet downstream. Built in 1910 by the Spotsylvania Power Company, the concrete dam was designed for hydropower production. The project is no longer producing power and has become a liability to the community.

A 100-foot hole will be blown in the concrete dam by Army and Air Force Reserve units on February 23, returning the river to its historic channel.

Russell Smith and John Berlin, co-owners of Woodside Construction, started the company 10 years ago to do heavy construction jobs. They purchased the Ellicott 370 in August, 2001, and plan to add one more dredge to their fleet.

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