Crumbling wall along Schuylkill won’t deter Dad Vail rowers

A collapsed 100-foot section of wall along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia could cost $1.3 million to rebuild. The crumbling stretch just south of the Strawberry Mansion Bridge could have implications for rowing races on the river.

To fix the collapsed section of wall, a temporary dam would be put in to keep water away from the wall, said Mark Focht, first deputy commissioner of the city’s Parks & Recreation department.

“Then you literally work in that space to pull the stones out and rebuild the wall with a concrete foundation, concrete piers, and concrete platform on which these large granite stones would be placed back on top of the concrete form,” Focht said. “That concrete form replacing what’s currently wood timbers and piles which we installed in the river in 1904.”

Focht said the wet August weather — including Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee — were contributing factors to the collapse. He said it’s unclear if the Murphy Cup race in about three weeks will be able to go ahead on the Schuylkill.

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Organizers of the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta, which draws 3,500 athletes and 25,000 spectators, plan to stage the event in May on the Schuylkill despite the damaged section, said Jack Galloway, chairman of committee organizing the regatta.

“Our view is that the city’s going to be able to have the traditional safety for both our competitors and our fans,” he said. “We think everything can just go forward as scheduled.”

Rowing teams from 120 colleges and universities take part in the competition.

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