Harwood's Mill Dam Project

Update: 2/13/24

The Harwood’s Mill Reservoir Dam Improvement Project began in Fall 2023 and is expected to conclude by the end of 2025. A temporary drawdown system has been installed to help control reservoir elevation during construction. Demolition of abandoned infrastructure on the dam site is nearing completion and the backfilling operation of the settling basins is underway. The contractor is in the process of driving sheet piles for the temporary cofferdam, which is needed to facilitate the improvements to the principal spillway.    


Major upgrades are being completed on the dam. This work is necessary to comply with Virginia Dam Safety requirements. Construction will begin this month and is expected to be completed in 2.5 years.

The project includes installation of a 2.5-foot crest wall to increase the height of the dam; a complete upgrade of the lake drain; demolition of abandoned infrastructure on the dam site; installation of a new access bridge; improvements to the rip-rap protection on the dam embankment slopes; and improvements to the principal spillway, including demolition of the existing spillway chute, construction of a new spillway floor slab, replacement of the training wall, and rehabilitation of the existing spillway weir. The upgrades to the dam will provide enhanced flood protection downstream during extreme weather events.

The project has been awarded to Archer Western Construction. The total projected cost of $20 million is being reduced by two federal grants totaling more than $8.6 million. The balance will be funded through Waterworks revenue bond proceeds.

Newport News Waterworks is committed to improving the dam. We appreciate your patience as we continue through this process, if you have any questions, please reach out to Cyndi Masterstaff, Public Education Coordinator at cmasterstaff@nnva.gov or 757-926-1062.


June 2021 

The design phase for upgrades to the Harwood's Mill dam, spillway and abutment was completed in the summer of 2021. Work continues on local, state, and federal permitting needed to implement the project. The project will raise the crest elevation of the dam structure to protect from potential overtopping during severe flooding. It will also replace aging concrete elements of the spillway including the slab, retaining walls, and diversion channel used to control water levels in the reservoir. The design is being coordinated with Virginia’s Dam Safety Program. 

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