Crews begin demolition on old dam in Lamington River

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Demolition has begun on an old dam that sits in the Lamington River between Bedminster and Branchburg in Somerset County.

The concrete structure dates back to the 1800s and is outdated and in need of removal to protect the area.

“It was originally a mill dam. Mills haven’t operated here in 100 years,” says Bill Kibler with the nonprofit group Raritan Headwaters. “The dam itself blew out in the 1950s during a really heavy storm.”

After that storm, the dam started pushing the river to the far bank, causing it to erode. Kibler says that it is also creating another problem.

"Right now, Milnor Road is in real serious danger of being undermined by the river. Literally eroding right underneath the road,” he says.

Once the dam is removed, the water will be redirected. When the project is finished, the island that is in the river will not have water running around it. The right side will be for overflow and the river will run to the north branch of the Raritan River.

Kibler says that erosion on the far side of the Lamington River will stop and flooding on nearby Milnor Road will decrease.

The crews are also dropping boulders into the site, which will help move water in the original direction that the river flows. It will also help the fish live in the river.

"This river has some native fish in it so we are trying to improve habitat for native fish including building some pools ruffles and runs,” Kibler says.

The project to remove the dam will also help some endangered species of mussels that live in the Lamington River.

The entire project should be finished in about 10 days.

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