Erie Canal kicks off 200th navigational season today

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Erie Canal is shown on April 29 with the Presbyterian Road canal bridge in the back. This was taken before the historic waterway was filled for the season.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 May 2024 at 7:03 am

The Erie Canal opens its 200th consecutive navigational season today, with the lift bridges and locks to be operational with standard hours daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The season continues until Oct. 16.

During the peak navigational season from May 17 to Sept. 11, there will be extended hours from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the lift bridges, including the seven in Orleans County. (The Albion Main Street bridge remains under construction this year.)

The standard hours have been moved back an hour this season. Last year the hours were 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There won’t be any tolls or fees for recreational use of the canal system for the 8th straight year. Those tolls were normally $25 to $100 for a season pass, depending on the size of the vessel.

There are seven lift bridges in Orleans County – Holley, Hulberton, Ingersoll Street in Albion, Main Street in Albion, Eagle Harbor, Knowlesville and Medina. There are 16 lift bridges on the canal and Orleans has more than any other county in the state.

The canal was completed in 1825, linking Buffalo to Albany. It has operated every year since. Next year will be the bicentennial of the original 363-mile-long canal, which took eight years to build, from 1817 to 1825.