AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — An effort to rehabilitate the Langley Pond Dam is in its home-stretch.
Work at Langley Pond Dam was supposed to be completed January of 2020. “We’re about 80% complete right now and still on budget,” Aiken County Council Chairman Gary Bunker said. We now know that date is pushed back but the project is moving along smoothly.
“I grew up in Augusta and I had a few friends in North Augusta but I hardly knew anybody in Aiken but I knew this pond,” Pete May told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk when asked about Langley Pond.
He’s excited about what could be a few months away. “I have some fond yet mischievous memories about Langley Pond from a long time ago but I am delighted that now the whole community is getting to use Langley Pond like it can be, a great recreational facility,” he added.
In 2014, the dam was threatened with collapse. The pond was closed ever since. Rehabilitation work started on March 2018. Over the last five years, the Aiken County Council secured the financing, the design, and the Army Corps of Engineering approval. The heavy rains earlier in the year and a second problem caused the project to be pushed back from its original target date.
“The most recent delay was the fact that we do not know what was underneath the old dam and when it came to removing the old spillway. It turned out there was a lot of timber underneath that had to be removed,” Bunker said. “It is very onerous work. They are very old and almost petrified wood you might say and it takes a lot of effort to move the timbers so they are working on that right now but we’re trying to get this done in the next few months,” he added.
When complete, the $14 million project will include a new dam, taking out the sandbars, moving stumps, and building a rowing tower. Officials say that they are expecting it to be open very quickly after it’s finished — in time for some major events like rowing. “We have our parks and recreation are talking to the Augusta Rowing Club and other organizations. you might recall we had teams in the 1996 Olympics training on that pond so it’s a very very good course for rowing events and we hope that with the new dam, taking out the sandbars, moving stumps building a rowing tower, it would not just be good it will be world-class,” Bunker shared.
Pumping money into local businesses like Bobby’s BBQ where owner Bobby Griffin, Jr. says his team definitely sees a pickup in foot traffic in the pond is open. “We’ll get the spectators coming in to eat with us. The rowing teams, and it makes for a big weekend for us”
Meanwhile, a new pedestrian bridge has been constructed over the new spillway at the dam, as well. It’s a part of the overall project that is scheduled to be completed in February/March 2020.