Dashields Dam Project Canceled over McCutcheon Way Dispute
An official with the Army Corps of Engineers said funding that was targeted for a local dam and road repair will now go to other infrastructure projects.
An Army Corps spokeswoman said the corps canceled the $5 million dam remediation and road repair after recent negotiations with Crescent officials deteriorated. The funding will now be awarded to other infrastructure projects.
Crescent Township shuttered McCutcheon Way in May 2011 after it was discovered that the hillside roadway's surface was sinking and sliding downhill. The road is the only entry point to the community's Shouse Park, which has also remained closed since last spring.
No re-opening timeline for the park or road has been announced. The cost of repairing the road is estimated at more than $250,000—a steep figure compared to Crescent's annual operating budget of $1.6 million.
Corps spokeswoman Sheila Tunney said money was allocated for the road repair with the overall cost of the dam project, which included guide wall stabilization for structure.
As a condition of the funding, the corps required that McCutcheon Way remain closed during the duration of the dam repairs. Talks between the parties had been strained over the long-term closure of Shouse Park, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
"They turned down federal money for it," said corps spokeswoman Sheila Tunney. "I believe that they're still trying to get money to try to get it fixed."
Crescent solicitor Richard Start and Bill Cook, president of the Board of Commissioners, could not be reached for comment on how the township plans to fund the repairs.
Tunney said McCutcheon provides the only access point to the dam for the corps.
"It's just too costly to bring stuff across the river and using the (nearby) CSX rail road is not feasible," she said.
Tunney said the corps has worked to put "Band Aids" on the aging dam structure, which was constructed from 1927 to 1929. She said though the Dashields repair has been put on hold indefinitely, the corps will need to address the decades-old dam's stability issues in the coming years.
"It's a very old structure," Tunney said of Dashields. "(Pennsylvania) has some of the oldest inland navigation stock in the country. We could have a failure at any time, and it's a big deal if a dam fails.
"It will remain on our list as needing to be repaired and once McCutcheon Way is fixed we can consider the project," she said.