For decades, the Plant Harllee Branch smokestack has been a beacon for boaters navigating Lake Sinclair.
Come Oct. 8, the 1,000-foot-high stack will come crashing down.
Georgia Power announced Tuesday the demolition schedule in the next step in dismantling the coal-fired plant that was retired last year.
The utility has hired a professional demolition contractor to take down the structure that rises over nearby U.S. 441.
Highway travelers also have come to embrace the tower as a milestone.
If weather permits, the highway will be closed during the scheduled demolition between 8 a.m.-1 p.m. the second Saturday in October.
“If all goes well, we won’t shut down traffic but about 10 minutes,” Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said.
Sheriff’s deputies from Baldwin and Putnam counties will be closing off an “exclusion zone,” to protect the public from the potential safety hazards from the demolition.
Sills said his deputies and DNR officers will be in boats patrolling the lake to keep others away.
The public will not be allowed on Georgia Power property to watch the tower fall.
“This thing is massive,” Sills said. “They’re going to chop it down like a tree and fall back toward the coal pits and railroad.”
There is enough buffer around the stack that it should not cause problems even if it does not fall according to plan, he said.
“If it fell the wrong way toward 441, it still won’t get to the road,” Sills said.
According to Georgia Power’s announcement, the demolition company will work to minimize the spread of dust and concrete as the stack comes down.
Once the stack is reduced to rubble, neighbors on the lake can contact the company if their property needs cleaning by calling Regina Linch at 706-484-7206.
As work continues to dismantle the plant, Georgia Power will remove four of Plant Branch’s coal ash ponds and close the other one on the premises.
Georgia Power built Lake Sinclair for the plant, which opened at the border of Putnam and Baldwin counties in 1965.