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Crews finish work on erosion near Colonial Heights dam

Posted at 10:46 AM, Aug 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 00:05:37-04

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- People who live downstream from the dam along Swift Creek in Colonial Heights can return to their homes Sunday afternoon after they were asked to leave them earlier in the day.

The voluntary evacuation impacted the Forestview, Sherwood, and Springdale neighborhoods because city officials "are concerned" about the area around the dam at Lakeview Park.

However, officials told WTVR CBS 6 senior reporter Wayne Covil they believe the dam structure is "solid."

"We've had a substantial amount of erosion come around the side (of the dam) and before we have that breach, we have public works crews filling in those holes trying to build back that structure," Colonial Heights Fire Chief T. Wayne Hoover said.

Officials said crews are dumping broken concrete and rock to secure that area to prevent a breach.

Hoover said city crews have been monitoring the situation at the dam at Lakeview Park off Lake Avenue since Saturday.

"We don't feel safe anymore leaving it," Hoover said. "We're going to take some aggressive actions to ensure we don't have additional problems," Hoover said.

However, city officials lifted the voluntary evacuation around 1 p.m. after crews completed work to prevent the erosion.

"City officials will continue to monitor the dam as the flood waters continue to spill over," Deputy Fire Marshal J. E. Boisseau said. "Residents are advised to stay away from immediate area of the dam."

In addition to homes, the American Legion and the Boulevard are downstream of the dam.

Sherwood Drive bridge over Swift Creek was back open to traffic Sunday evening, but the bridge is limited to one lane for the time being, according to officials.

Officials had closed the Sherwood Hills bridge because of "fast moving water" Saturday night.

"In order to exit Sherwood Hills residents will exit on Swift Creek Lane on to Branders Bridge Road, north into Chesterfield County," officials previously said.

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