OAKLAND TOWNSHIP, PA – (WIVT/WBGH) A project to remove a damaged hydroelectric dam on Susquehanna River between Susquehanna and Oakland, Pennsylvania is about halfway finished.

The national non-profit American Rivers is funding the $400,000 removal project using a variety of grants it has received.

The dam was originally built in the 1800’s to provide water and power to the nearby railyard. It was rebuilt much larger in the 1920’s to produce electricity but the adjoining power plant ceased operations in the late 90’s. Soon after, a 100-foot breach developed in the middle of the dam. Lisa Hollingsworth-Segedy says many canoes and kayaks have been fooled into thinking the breach is passable.

“We have consistently urged people to avoid this breach at all costs because there’s submerged concrete blocks, there is protruding rebar. When the water has been very low, you can actually see that rebar sticking out and it’s like spears sticking upstream. It’s extremely dangerous,” said Hollingsworth-Segedy.

Hollingsworth-Segedy says the 755 foot-long, 16-foot-high dam is scheduled to be fully gone by Labor Day.

American Rivers will also reshape the riverbanks and return the Susquehanna to its original width with no portage needed.