Erie Canal Lock 18, Jacksonburg, NY. Photo by Mohawk Valley Today Inc.

Historic $50 Million Investment in the New York State Canal System

All Canal Locks and Lift Bridges Operating Today through October 16th

Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced a historic $50 million capital investment into the New York State Canal system as part of the FY 2025 Enacted Budget.

As the State prepares to celebrate the Erie Canal’s Bicentennial in 2025 and looks ahead to the next century of operation along the 524-mile Canal system, this funding ensures that the waterway will remain safe, operable, and a driver of tourism and economic activity. Investments will focus on high-priority infrastructure needs including the rehabilitation of water-impounding structures that have been in service for more than a century. Today’s announcement coincides with the seasonal opening of navigation on the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca Canals.

“Nearly 200 years ago Governor DeWitt Clinton opened the original Erie Canal connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean and now we are making a significant investment to ensure the current Erie Canal and the entire canal system remain safe and a vibrant part of our state’s fabric,” Governor Hochul said. “As a lifelong boater who has plied the canal waters, I know firsthand that the canalway means so much to our communities. This commitment of funding will allow our historic canals to be part of New York’s story for generations to come.”

Erie Canal Lock 18, Jacksonburg, NY. Photo by Mohawk Valley Today Inc.

Revitalizing New York’s Canal System

The funding included as part of the FY 2025 Enacted Budget is part of a comprehensive effort to revitalize the iconic Canal system by the New York Power Authority and New York State Canal Corporation. This effort includes strategically rehabilitating and improving the system’s infrastructure including locks, dams, embankments, culverts, and other civil assets so that the network of waterways and trails will continue to positively support the more than 200 upstate New York communities that are within the canal corridor.

Projects to be funded with the $50 million may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Rehabilitation of reservoir dams built in the 19th and early 20th century to supply water to the Enlarged Erie Canal (1836 – 1918) and other canals.
  • Waste weirs used to regulate the canal’s water levels.
  • Improvements to earthen embankment dams, including the continuation of extensive work in Royalton, Niagara County to install a soil-bentonite slurry wall to mitigate seepage.
  • Rehabilitation of other water management structures that provide resilience benefits, like guard gates which can be used to isolate and protect sites during high water events.

New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, “With the Erie Canal’s Bicentennial on the horizon, I applaud Governor Hochul and the members of the state Senate and Assembly for recognizing how vital the Canal system is to our local economies. Funding these critical infrastructure projects will safeguard downstream residents and businesses and allow the canal to continue to thrive.”

The Canal system’s 57 locks and 16 lift bridges will operate daily through Wednesday, October 16, 2024. For hours of operation and other news, please visit the Canal Corporation’s website.

Erie Canal Lock 18, Jacksonburg, NY. Photo by Mohawk Valley Today Inc.

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