Author Topic: Earthen Embankment Remediation Project (EERP) - Phase 2 Progress Update  (Read 55 times)

Doug K

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The ECNA received a call today from the Western Division Construction Manager from the NY Canal Corporation, this is the person responsible for the EERP Project and also the Coordinator between the various companies providing the overall Remediation work along the Erie Canal. The call was centered on sharing some minor changes to the Remediation Project Plan, specifically on the process to be used from December to March, and then March to the opening of the Erie for Navigation in May. We will cover more details in this post.

First, the Erie Canal Project name change - EERP stands for Earthen Embankment Remediation Project. It was changed at the onset of the Phase 2 work here in Western NY counties and will be used in the future for this safety project. It is no accident that this was the chosen name. Do a simple Internet search of those 4 words and you will be directed to webpages showing similar project work globally, as well as key information on why this type of work is done as well as how..good information if anyone still has a question about the need for this work.

Secondly, the Re-Construction Teams from Buffalo & Syracuse have done enough preliminary work to understand the complexity of the Remediation process on the Erie Canal Dams and have come to the conclusion that the original working plan has to be changed. The original scope of work was to remove tree stumps, refill holes with the special mix of soil, then re-excavate the embankment outboard slopes with new topsoil and prepare for a Springtime planting of grass or wildflowers mix. After much discussion the teams agreed this plan would be heavily influenced by the winter weather and has decided to split the work into TWO parts; Pulling stumps & Reshaping Embankments. The first part, Pulling & Back filling Stumps, which is much more critical to safety, will be done from Now through March time frame. Part 2; adding Topsoil & re-contouring the Embankment Slopes will be done in March to May, when the materials needed are motre readily available and it's easier to get the necessary equipment onto the work sites. Its a small change, with a big impact aesthetically but one that all agree is needed. After the stumps are done and the slopes are re-graded, the grass/wildflower planting can commence which will transform the Erie Canal, both in the visual appeal, and in the fact that it will NOW be conforming to recognized rules around Earthen Embankment Dams for safety.

Third topic we discussed was about ramping up the ongoing repair work. Currently the Syracuse-based crew from Tioga Construction is moving from a single crew they started with, to 4 crews this week. As you know that Crew is working westward from Spencerport area. The second Reconstruction Company, Hohl Industries out of the Buffalo area, is also adding 3 more crews to bring their total to 4 as well. They will all be working to get the stumps removed, roots ground to a 1" or less diameter (per USACE guidelines) and refill the depressions with the correct mixture of repair material as QUICKLY as possible to minimize any delays due to weather. It looks like a good stretch of weather coming our way so progress should be made by years's end.

We also discussed the challenges they have found in the process, most notably the measures that have been taken to meet the requirements of a minimum of 32F temperature on the excavated stump AND the replacement material. They now have to heat the soil replacement mix offsite, and keep it warm as it is trucked to the Embankment location under repair. While the truck is enroute the team at the site has to insure the stump depression is also warmer than 32F and also DRY enough to not have any ice issues later on when the weather turns real cold here. They do that with a combination of tarps & ground heaters.

If you think about it the idea of patching and NOT covering the repair up until Spring would ALSO allow these teams to re-inspect their repairs to insure they meet the stringent requirements for this type work.

So before anyone starts to complain AGAIN about how "ugly or unappealing" the Erie Canal looks during this Remediation Work please consider that the process is a challenge during the Winter months AND this is a "work in progress" and like any BIG job' it's small steps to a final solution. Consider that if this work was done when it was easiest to perform, it would mean a COMPLETE closure of the Erie Canal, both waterway & trailway, during the warmer navigation season..and the NY Power Authority is working hard NOT to take that path.

If you see the teams working on the project, give them a break, the same one you would give to a highway crew. Obey the Trail closure signs and refrain from complaining about the overall project.

After all, they are ONLY trying to SAVE LIVES by fixing an UNSAFE Earthen Embankment Dam right in your backyards.

We will see work in the Brockport area this week, check back for more details later, including pictures of repairs and hopefully a video of the stump removal process.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2018, 10:43:31 am by Doug K »

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