Rapid changes at site of Raleigh's Milburnie Dam

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Visitors at the Neuse River Trail will notice rapids along the Neuse River, last seen more than 100 years ago.

Visitors hitting the Neuse River Trail in Raleigh will now notice rapids along the Neuse River, last seen more than 100 years ago.

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A project to demolish Raleigh's century-old Milburnie Dam and revitalize the area finished ahead of schedule.

Raleigh-based environmental mitigation company Restoration Systems headed up the dam removal in an effort to eliminate a dangerous eyesore and improve the river's ecology.

Conservationists hope the removal of the dam will prompt the return of migratory fish such as shad and striped bass.

After using boulders from the dam to build stone toe walls along the river's banks, crews transformed the powerhouse structure into an overlook and planted 3,100 trees on the surrounding land.

The Milburnie Dam, which was once used to supply power to the capital city, had become a lethal landmark in recent years with 15 people dying in its undercurrents.

Tiffani Bylow, dam removal project manager for Restoration Systems, said people will still need to be careful when recreating on the water.

"Everyone still needs to be safe, she said. "Pay attention to what you're doing, but we just hope you come out here and enjoy the site forever just as we're enjoying it right now."

Restoration Systems will continue monitoring for improved ecology in the area for the next seven years.
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