US Army Corps of Engineers
New England District

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Clear River Shore and Bank Protection Project

Clear River

The Clear River originates in the northwest corner of the state and flows easterly for eight miles to its confluence with the Branch River. Located about 15 miles northwest of Providence in the Harrisville section of Burrillville, the project site is situated on the Clear River’s northern bank, directly behind the Burrillville Ambulance Association (BAA) building and immediately upstream of the Railroad Avenue Bridge. The BAA is a nonprofit volunteer organization that provides emergency medical care and transport for town residents.

In 1965, private interests constructed a 140-foot-long stone retaining wall behind the BAA building to control erosion of the river’s northern bank and safeguard the BAA building. Eventually, about 60 feet of the wall weakened and collapsed, allowing riverbank erosion to creep within six feet of the BAA building. If this section of wall had been left unrepaired, severe flooding would have structurally undermined the BAA building and the adjoining parking lot.

The Corps responded to the problem by replacing the 60 feet of failed wall with a 15-foot-high stone retaining wall and removing a wooden footbridge and its abutment that had restricted the river flow and contributed to the erosion process.

The project was constructed between September-October 1986 at a cost of $161,000.