In 2011, Batson-Cook, assisted by Scott Bridge Co., was chosen to build the world's longest urban whitewater course in Columbus, Ga., through the Chattahoochee River Restoration project. The project both enhanced the river's local environment and created a state-of-the-art whitewater facility.

Photo courtesy Batson-Cook Co
The Columbus, Ga., project won the top award in the water and environmental project category.

Contractors hired divers to survey the river and help determine its "true" channel, which helped builders determine where underwater structures, such as boulders, should be placed in order to achieve the designer's intent for both the river's natural bank restoration as well as the whitewater course. The project team's biggest challenge was removing two dams that were more than 100 years old—the Eagle & Phenix Dam and the City Mills Dam—that were built in the late 1800s to provide power to the now-abandoned textile mills located along the river. To take out the structures, crews drilled holes down through the top of the dams and placed dynamite topped with crushed gravel and then more dynamite. Once blasted, the team used heavy equipment to manually dismantle the rest of the structure. Also, the project team recontoured the river bed to create whitewater courses; changed the contour of the river's flow for the whitewater rapids; and constructed a habitat pool for fish and wildlife.

Best Water/Environment Project - Chattahoochee River Restoration/ Columbus Whitewater, Columbus, Ga.

Key Players

Contractor Batson-Cook Co., West Point, Ga.

Owner Uptown Columbus Inc., Columbus, Ga.

Lead Designer McLaughlin Whitewater Design Group, Denver