Erie Canal to Open for Stranded Boats

Good news for the commercial boats and pleasure craft that have been trapped along the Erie Canal since Tropical Storm Irene. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the canal will be opened between Nov. 24 and Dec. 8 in order to get the stranded boats home. The canal took a beating with Irene’s flooding and will require extensive repairs in some spots. The announcement reads:

“Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Erie Canal will reopen to commercial and recreational traffic for a two-week navigation period that begins Thanksgiving Day. The canal has been closed in the Mohawk Valley since major flooding damaged several canal structures late last month.

The canal is projected to re-open on Nov. 24 and close on Dec. 8 to allow transient marine traffic to reach their destinations this season. Two large tour boats are among the many vessels that have been stranded on the Great Lakes since Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee devastated parts of the state. Those boats will now be able to complete their journeys.

“This is welcome news to boaters and commercial vessels with no other reasonable alternative to returning to their home ports,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are pleased to be able to continue the important storm recovery efforts that will rebuild New York and restore our transportation infrastructure.”

In the wake of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, catastrophic flooding overwhelmed locks on the Erie Canal between Fort Plain and Schenectady, causing widespread damage. Steel uprights which hold the dam gates in place were twisted and displaced and lock and power houses were swept away in the flooding. Machinery used to operate the locks and dams were inundated with flood water and at three locations the flood waters carved new channels for the Mohawk River around the lock and dam structures.”

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