Restoring a Free-Flowing River in Cuyahoga Falls

As part of an initiative to remove abandoned dam structures and restore free-flowing river conditions along the Cuyahoga River from Lake Rockwell to Lake Erie, the Ohio EPA worked with GPD to develop a comprehensive plan. 

The project removed two 100-year-old dams in the city of Cuyahoga Falls, while stabilizing adjacent remnant powerhouse structures. GPD’s design team evaluated the change in hydraulic forces and designed a system to maintain structural stability. The physical removal of the dam structures posed unknown challenges associated with exposed riverbed within the limits of eliminated dam pool. Design concepts for structure and bank stabilization methods remained subject to modification as each area became exposed during the construction phase, thus exercising a true design-build team effort. 

This successful project restored portions of the Cuyahoga River with no impact to adjacent structures. The waterway achieved free-flowing conditions, meeting EPA objectives for improved water quality and also providing safe passage for a water trail and recreational benefit. 

Two aging dams removed

Free-flowing river conditions restored

A true collaborative effort