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Northampton Council Torpedoes Dam Removal Plan

Published On: Sep 20 2013 12:15:36 AM EDT

Northampton County Council Thursday night rejected a proposal to plan for the “full removal” of dams at the confluence of the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers in Easton and the Chain Dam near Hugh Moore Park.

The plan to remove the dams had been proposed as a way to restore shad migration into the Lehigh River.

But in rejecting the idea, council said if the dam in Easton was removed it could easily change the character of the city and neighboring communities. It could also lower the river level, exposing the foundation of a Palmer Township-owned railroad bridge, and force the relocation of underwater sewer mains.


Council also cited costs as a factor, saying renovations would be needed of canal and river banks. Pumps would also be required, reported to be between $1.2 million and $6 million to maintain water levels in both the Lehigh and Delaware canals.

There were also unknowns cited by council in its decision, including the impact on a 12-inch water line and a natural gas line upstream of the Glendon Hill Road Bridge, as well as pipes and box culverts, which taken together could cost an estimated $18 million.