Tree cutters clear canal embankment in Holley

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 November 2017 at 8:00 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Tree-cutting crews from Mohawk Valley Materials in Utica worked along the north side of Erie Canal embankment in Holley this afternoon. They are shown working on the section between the lift bridge and Bennetts Corners Road.

MVM started clearing trees in Medina last month and is working eastward to Fairport. The State Canal Corporation is paying the company $2.6 million to remove trees on 145 acres of canal property.

MVM has several powerful pieces of machinery to cut down and move trees.

The Canal Corporation is having the trees removed because it worries the tree roots make the canal banks vulnerable to leaks. The trees have roots that can burrow into the soil, going under the towpath and reaching the canal walls. That can result in leaks and weaken the walls, Canal Corp. officials said.

MVM hauled away some of the trees and wood chips. This photo shows wood chips being sprayed on the north canal bank.

There was a long line of vehicles and machinery on the north side of the canal in Holley while the trees were being cleared. The contractor won’t be touching any trees on privately owned land.

The tree removal is phase one of a vegetation management project. The strip of land near the towpath will eventually be mow-able. The stumps will be removed and grass seed will be spread.

“The (trees’) removal will restore the integrity of the embankments and improve the Canal Corporation’s ability to properly manage their condition, keeping the communities that surround the canal safe from potential flooding due to structural failures,” the Canal Corp. states on its website.

The fallen trees are lined up near the towpath in Holley.

“This type of vegetation can provide pathways for seepage, which can potentially weaken embankments and result in failure, leading to flooding of lands surrounding the canal,” the Canal Corp. stated. “Furthermore, the heavy vegetation prevents Canal employees and other inspectors from being able to thoroughly monitor the integrity of the Canal’s embankments.”

Return to top