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Shipley's Choice Dam Rehabilitation

Project Background:

The Shipley's Choice Dam is a 20 ft high earthen embankment constructed in 1980 to create an instream stormwater management pond for the Shipley's Choice subdivision.  In 2006, an enlarged wet area was discovered on the dam's downstream slope prompting emergency corrective work.Further engineering evaluations determined that long term repairs would not be effective.  

  • Remove dam and provide stable stream system along Bear Branch.  
  • Replacement of 66" culvert pipe undeneath W. Benefield Rd.
  • Closure of W. Benfield Rd. between Pixie Drive and Severnside Dr.
  • Removal of dam embankment.
  • Monitoring stream segments that are below and above the dam area.
  • Rehabilitation of the entire Bear Branch stream segment (next phase)
  • Protection from potential property damage.
  • Bear Branch restoration will mimic the pre-development conditions.
  • Allows fish passage under W. Benfield and extends Bear Creek fish passage to north of Benfield Boulevard.
  • Reduce sediment flow to the Severn River.
Project Manager:
Larry Mathena
Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson, Inc. (JMT)
Project Investment:
$5.4 million
Notice to Proceed:
May 2018
Completion Date:
Fall 2019
Project Updates:

Update January 2019

  • The County is working with their engineering consultant JMT to complete the Bid Documents (Plans & Specs) for the Shipley’s Dam Project.
  • The County’s contractor Seismic Surveys performed surveys of homes within 500 feet of the proposed culvert under West Benfield Road. These surveys document existing conditions of buildings and structures prior to construction. The new culvert will be supported by concrete piles, and pile driving will create vibrations. Seismic Surveys will conduct a post-construction survey of homes and structures to verify that no damage occurred. To date, 13 of the 23 homes within the 500-foot radius have been surveyed. A listing and map of the homes to be surveyed is included at the end of this document (Enclosure 1).
  • The County coordinated with BGE regarding the relocation of the overhead lines along West Benfield Road, which will occur prior to culvert installation. These lines and a pole lie within the area to be excavated for the new culvert and sewer lines. Tree trimming will precede installation of three new poles and moving the overhead lines north of the road. After the culvert is installed, the overhead lines will be returned to their original location along the road. Refer to Enclosure 2 for the overhead line relocation plan.
  • The County coordinated with BGE regarding the temporary relocation of the gas line buried under West Benfield Road. Relocating this line will prevent damage to it during culvert construction. BGE is preparing plans & specs for the gas line relocation, and this work will be included in the Shipley’s Dam Project construction. Once BGE has provided these documents, the Shipley’s Dam Project will be put out to bid.

Public Meeting Presentation - February 13, 2018


Late February  Tree trimming for overhead line relocation W. Benfield Rd
Early March BGE sets new poles and relocates overhead line
Mid March Comcast & Verizon relocate their overhead lines
Mid March Shipley’s Dam construction project put out to bid
Mid May Construction Contract Award
Early June Construction begins with culvert installation on W. Benfield Rd
Early 2019 Begin removal of Shipley’s Dam
Late Summer 2019 Construction complete

Road Closure

  • During culvert construction under West Benfield Road, the road will be closed to through traffic. Work to be accomplished during the road closure includes: removal of the existing culvert, excavation for the new culvert, pile driving, installation of the 7’ x 10’ concrete box culvert, and utility relocations.
  • Enclosure 3 is the road closure plan included in the Shipley’s Dam plan set. The section of West Benfield Road west of Pixie Drive and east of Severnside Drive will be closed to traffic.
  • It is estimated that West Benfield Road will be closed for 4 – 5 months. A more precise duration and approximate dates for the road closure will be provided after construction contract award, when the contractor submits their construction schedule.

Update January 2018

The project design is 99% complete.  Construction start for culvert improvements along West Benfield Road is anticipated in June 2018.  Removal of the existing dam should begin in early 2019.  

Update May 2017

The project design is 95% complete and is currently in the permitting process.  Construction notice to proceed for removal of the existing dam and culvert improvements is anticipated for the summer of 2017.

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