Failing Taunton, Mass. Dam Replaced with New Structure

October 23, 2005

Crews on Saturday began dismantling a decrepit wooden dam that nearly collapsed and swamped Taunton, Mass. last week.

Workers used heavy machinery to grab chunks of the Whittenton Pond Dam, which was replaced overnight by a new rock dam a few feet downstream.

A grappling hook pulled apart the rotting wooden structure, discarding in nearby trash bins large wooden planks and beams that had helped hold back the Mill River for 173 years.

David Simas, a spokesman for Mayor Robert Nunes, said the new structure was nearly complete and the entire job should be done by the end of the day, when more foul weather is expected.

Last Monday, the old dam buckled and started breaking apart after a weekend of heavy rain. The situation prompted officials to evacuate 2,000 residents and close downtown businesses.

Officials had planned to reinforce the structure but scrapped the idea after an inspection showed it was beyond repair.

Crews started working on the new dam Friday afternoon.

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