Erie Canal opens for 199th navigational season Friday

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Erie Canal is shown in Albion on Thursday evening, looking west from the Ingersoll Street bridge. The scene for the first time in more than a century doesn’t include a Main Street lift bridge. That span is under construction on the north side of the canal.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 May 2023 at 9:40 pm

The Erie Canal will open to boating traffic on Friday for the 199th navigational season on the historic waterway.

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

The entire system is scheduled to open at 7 a.m. on May 19. The standard hours of operation are 7 to 5 p.m. daily until the season closes on Oct. 12. However, the lift bridges from Fairport through Orleans County to Lockport will be operational from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. through the peak navigation season from May 19 through Sept. 13.

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 the seven in Orleans are more than any other county in the state.

However, the Main Street lift bridge is under construction in Albion and won’t be in service this year. The Brockport lift bridge also is getting a major rehabilitation.

The Canal Corporation said it continues to seek seasonal employees to staff the locks and lift bridges across the canal system. Those interested in applying for a position should visit the Canal Corporation’s website.

Traffic moves across the Ingersoll Street lift bridge. The bridge will be operational for the boating traffic from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. from May 19 through Sept. 13, and then 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Oct. 11.