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Friday, September 23, 2011 - 4:51am

Columbus Whitewater Project Underway

Several hundred people gathered on the east bank of the Chattahoochee to commemorate the launching of a $23 million project to bring whitewater rafting to Columbus and Phenix City, Alabama.

Work on the project began several weeks ago. The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer says the event on Thursday, dubbed "RiverBlasting," brought a ceremonial beginning to what supporters say will be the longest whitewater course in an urban setting in the world at 2.5 miles.

Workers with Batson-Cook, the construction company that is handling the project, have built a haul road on the west bank down into the river just below the Eagle-Phenix Dam, one of two that will be breached for the project. Work has begun there to prepare two sets of rapids before the dam will be gradually breached.