Repairs Completed to Culvert and Embankment in Orleans County
Albany, NY (August 15, 2012)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that a 20-mile section of the Erie Canal will re-open on Thursday, August 16, following extensive repairs to restore a partial collapse of the canal embankment.
The section of the Erie Canal in Albion has been closed since July 30 when leaks resulted in a large sinkhole on the southern side of the embankment.
The breach in the embankment was caused by multiple fractures in the culvert pipe beneath the canal and associated concrete wall. At the Governor’s direction, work to repair the damage, including replacement of a ninety-foot-long section of culvert pipe, had been proceeding around the clock since the incident.
"When this portion of the canal closed, the state pledged to work around the clock to get it fixed as soon as possible," Governor Cuomo said. "Today's announcement is good news for the businesses, farmers, and communities all across New York that rely on the Erie Canal and I am pleased that this vital economic engine is up and running again."
Howard P. Milstein, Chairman of the New York State Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation, said, "We commend the efforts of all parties that worked cooperatively to stop the leak and then repair it. This included local governments, canal personnel and canal emergency contractors. Due to their quick and expert actions, threat to the public was avoided and major property damage was deterred."
Brian U. Stratton, Director of the New York State Canal Corporation, said, "As the Governor stated when he toured the site on August 2, it was vitally important that we get the Canal re-opened quickly. The Erie Canal in western New York is not just important corridor for tourism, but also serves as a source of irrigation water for local farms and supports hydro-electric power generation. We appreciate the patience of all these users as we worked quickly but safely to address the issues and make the necessary repairs, and we are pleased to announce that we are once again ‘Open for Business’ on the Erie Canal."
Dean Theodorakos, Mayor of the Village of Albion, said, "We salute the considerable efforts of the Canal Corporation in working with the community throughout this situation and for getting the damage repaired quickly, and we are proud of the contributions of Village personnel, including Fire, DPW and Police in this undertaking. The Village of Albion played an active role in the response to the discovery of the leak on July 30th, and has continued to devote resources ever since. The Canal is an important contributor to the local economy, and we will all be happy to see it up and running once again."
Charles H. Nesbitt, Jr., Chief Administrative Officer for Orleans County, said, "Orleans County responded quickly the evening of July 30 and has worked closely with the Canal Corporation and the Village of Albion throughout the event. We are happy to see that what could have been a very serious situation has been addressed and that the Erie Canal will be reopened, supporting tourism and recreation here in Orleans County."
The breach in the Canal embankment was discovered on July 30 by a Canal Corporation maintenance supervisor when he checked the site of an ongoing project. He stopped two vehicles from driving into the sinkhole in the road moments later. Crews were immediately mobilized, and worked through the night to prevent a complete collapse of the embankment. Within an hour of the discovery, guard gates were closed in Holley and Albion to isolate the damaged area so water could be drained in order to facilitate the repair work.
The Canal Corporation mobilized an emergency contractor, C.P. Ward, Inc. of Scottsville, Monroe County, to make repairs to the site. During excavation at the site, several fractures were found in a culvert pipe and an associated concrete wall, located nine feet below the Canal bottom. In addition to replacement of much of the culvert pipe, crews installed steel sheet piling in the area and reconstructed the Canal embankment.
Over the course of the Canal section closure, Gate 13 (Holley) and Gate 14 (Albion) was closed on July 31. Gate 16 (Middleport) was closed on August 1 temporarily so that the water levels between Gate 16 (Middleport) and Gate 14 (Albion) could be lowered. On August 1, Gate 13 (Holley) and Gate 16 (Middleport) was closed. On August 10, the Erie Canal from Middleport to Medina was re-opened.
On August 1, Lock 13 (Holley) and Lock 16 (Middleport) was closed. On August 10, the Erie Canal from Middleport to Medina was re-opened.
Albion-Eagle Harbor Road remains closed between Gaines Basin Road and State Street, in the vicinity of the failure. Work to reconstruct the road and adjacent area will continue over the next several weeks.