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Canal will be drained in Orleans to allow for emergency culvert repair in Hulberton

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 June 2016 at 12:00 am

Closure expected to last several weeks

Photos by Tom Rivers – The State Canal Corp. has posted a detour on the towpath for a section just west of the lift bridge so emergency repairs can be made to a culvert.

HULBERTON – The Erie Canal will be drained between Brockport and Middleport beginning on June 27 so emergency repairs can be made to a culvert in Hulberton. The Canal Corporation estimates the canal closure will last several weeks.

The problems with the culvert, about 500 yards west of the lift bridge, were discovered during a routine inspection. The Canal Corp. has spent the past three days discussing how to address the situation with its engineering team and a consultant, Bergmann Associates.

The team of experts determined the repairs can’t be put off until after the canal boating season, said Shane Mahar, canal spokesman.

The Canal Corp. wants to fix the culvert so there isn’t a bigger problem, including the potential for a blowout.

A tender heads east on the canal towards the lift bridge in Hulberton. The canal will be drained in this section beginning on June 27.

“It’s not ideal,” Mahar said about draining a section of the canal at the start of the summer boating season. “But our team of experts believes it is necessary or it could lead to bigger problems.”

After the canal is drained between Brockport and Middleport and preliminary construction work is started, the canal between Middleport and Albion will be refilled with water.

However, a 15-mile section of the canal between the Albion Guard Gate (just west of the Village of Albion) and the Brockport Guard Gate (just west of the Village of Brockport) will remain de-watered until repairs are complete.

Mahar said the Canal Corp. is putting off dewatering the section for about 10 days so contractors can be mobilized and boaters given notice to plan their navigational trips.

An advisory from the Canal Corporation states:

“Residents who live along the Erie Canal in the immediate vicinity of the culvert repair work are safe. Local mariners are advised to remove their vessels from the Canal prior to Sunday, June 26, 2016.

“The Canal Corporation will assist in towing boats outside of the above referenced closure area if requested by the owners, but shall not be responsible for any damage to vessels, as a result of towing or that are not removed from the Canal prior to the closure.

“Effective immediately, a detour on the Erie Canalway Trail from the Hulberton Lift Bridge to approximately 3,500 feet west of the lift bridge is in effect utilizing Canal Road on the north side of the Canal. Users of the trail should follow the posted detour signs.

“Mariners seeking information on alternative routes should contact the Canal Corporation at 518-471-5014.”
Several farms have permits to siphon water from the canal in the 15-mile stretch. Mahar said the Canal Corp. will work with the state Department of Agriculture and Markets to make sure farms are notified.

The Canal Corporation appreciates the public’s patience and understanding while this maintenance work is completed, Mahar said.