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Michael Caswell

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« Last Edit: March 28, 2023, 09:27:31 am by Doug K »

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Doug K

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If you take the time to read the State Comptroller Report you will find information that is astounding. Some of what the report outlines actually borders on "willful neglect" of the NYS Canal System by the Thruway Authority. Despite requests, from the NYS Canal Corporation, the NYS Thruway Authority failed to properly fund, support, or identify public risk issues along the entire Canal System.

Here are a few highlights:

Thruway Authority has a History of Neglected Safety Issues

According to the minutes from the June 6, 2014 meeting between the Thruway Authority and Corporation Boards, only about 55 percent of the Canal Systemís critical structures were in good condition in recent years due to resource constraints. The minutes further reveal the 2014-15 goal was to maintain this percentage.

Board members agreed it was imperative that the structures remain in good condition to maintain the Canal Systemís reliability and continued safe operation. Given this goal, it is important that structures have regular Inspections to identify and prioritize the Canal Systemís greatest repair needs.

Canal Corporation Unable to Properly & Consistently Prioritize Safety Issues

Although the Corporation has worked toward implementing a risk-based system for prioritizing Inspections and repairs since 2011, we found its methodologies were flawed and thus could not be relied on to accurately prioritize repair projects. Furthermore, in numerous instances, we found the Corporationís process for determining Inspection and maintenance priorities lacked clarity.

Thruway Authority & Canal Corporation Maintenance Tracking Tools Are Unreliable

The Corporation has developed several tools to prioritize its capital and maintenance repair needs. However, we determined that, in many cases, these tools do not use data that is accurate or current and are thus unreliable (e.g., tools that are based on outdated inspection results). In addition, the tools are not the primary basis for maintenance priority decisions, with the Corporation giving greater weight instead to worker knowledge and professional judgment. Furthermore, since the reasons for decisions arenít generally documented, a lack of clarity exists regarding the basis for these decisions.

The Canal Corporation Does Not Properly Document Maintenance or Capital Improvements

Because many decisions related to maintenance and capital priorities are not documented, it is not apparent that the Corporation gives greatest priority to structures most in need of repair. Given that only half of the Canal structures are in good condition based on the Corporationís own assessment, and considering its limited resources, the Corporation must prioritize improving its asset management and capital program management systems.

Our review of Corporation inspection and repair data reveals that numerous deficiencies have not been addressed.

This State Comptroller Canal Report is now 9 years old, and still has not been completely addressed. This report has now resulted in a change of ownership for the NYS Canal Corporation, being handed over to NYPA. It has also taken its toll on management within both agencies, having some key resources move out of canal operations, or NYPA support.

And under the New York Power Authority, the Canal Corporation is finally getting the funding to perform many of these missed inspections, along with their newly developed plan for Canal Repairs, the Embankment Integrity Program.

Too little, too late? Time will tell if the NYS Canal System can still operate SAFELY, in the deteriorating state described in this report. Currently, with over 300 seeps & leaks along its 335 miles of waterway, that will be a challenge.

And it's even a bigger challenge with an active Facebook group on social media trying to subvert all of their maintenance work on earthen dams.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2023, 07:30:31 am by Doug K »