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Clearing 1,000 Miles of Shoreline: Lake Hartwell

Hartwell Dam was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1955 and 1963 on the Savannah River.

Other aspects of lake construction, in addition to building dams, were the clearing of shorelines and relocation of highways prior to flooding.

Depending on the depth of the lake and the grade near the shoreline, contractors might strip and dress a few hundred feet or several hundred yards. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contracted for the building of Lake Hartwell on the Savannah River in the late 1950s. The new lake had almost 1,000 miles of shoreline in Georgia and South Carolina to be cleared in three stages by different contractors from around the country. The contractors brought their own equipment, but relied on Yancey for service, parts, and occasional rental machines. Loftin-Woodard, Inc., of Delhi, Louisiana, cleared 600 miles of shoreline with fourteen Cat® D7 and D8 tractors, many of them equipped with special cutters, rock rakes, and modified dozer blades. Schutt Co. of Genoa, Wisconsin, cleared another 300 miles of shoreline with eighteen similarly equipped D6s and D8s.

U.S. Highway 29, a major corridor from northeast Georgia into South Carolina, was going to be covered by more than 100 feet of water when the lake filled. J. C. Critcher, Inc., of Asheville, North Carolina, submitted the low bid to relocate about six miles of the highway to the south of the new dam with Cat® DW21s, D8 pushers and dozers, and other equipment.

In the meantime, M. R. Thomason of Montgomery used a fleet of DW21 motor scrapers, DW10 tractors/No. 10 scraper combinations, and other equipment for the earth work on more than three miles of dam and embankments.

With veterans home from the war filling out the workforce, factories producing the machinery they needed for roadwork, and a backlog of delayed road projects, the late 1940s and 1950s were a time of nonstop construction all over Georgia. Of the many, many jobs completed, we offer a small sample to give an idea of the wide variety of work accomplished.

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Post-War Boom 1948 - 1959
Era Stories