Author Topic: Another NY Barge Canal Myth Debunked - Canal Breaks  (Read 51 times)

Doug K

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Another NY Barge Canal Myth Debunked - Canal Breaks
« on: January 21, 2020, 10:42:36 am »
It's not hard to imagine that a canal system, one that has 500+ miles of total waterway to travel, would have some issues with leaks, breakage and other water containment problems. Of course you would need two things to understand if there was truly a public safety issue:

1) An open mind to understand & accept the information you find
2) A good Google keyword search to locate the critical information


As an Engineer for many years in my career, I have had to do both.

What I found odd about the topic of Canal Safety was a statement made by the Facebook Group called Stop the Canal Clear Cut about Canal Breaks in their website, in all the public meetings that they attended. They were saying that the "only" time the newer NYS Barge Canal ever broke (and flooded) was in 1974, at Bushnell's Basin, when a canal breach & flood was caused by Canal Workers doing some culvert repairs. They claimed that the Canal is just fine, no problems and if the Canal Corporation would leave it alone they wouldn't cause the same issues they did in 1974. They stated to all who would listen that the Bushnell's Basin incident is a reason NOT to touch the canal or make repairs.

And not one person ever challenged that statement...until now.

You see folks, if they are wrong about this simple fact then you have to ask yourself what else have they missed. What else did this group say that seemed right at the moment, but under scrutiny and investigation can be debunked. I took a few minutes to do a keyword search today, to finally put to rest this false narrative by a group fighting against fixing unsafe embankment dams.

And it did come down to a simple keyword search on Google - Erie Canal Repair Closure.

You can try this keyword search for yourself, and I recommend it to those who want the REAL truth about the current state of the NYS Canal System, it may surprise you. You will see three main types of canal closures listed in the array of Google hits for these four words.

1) Historical references to past original Erie Canal breakages
2) References to the amount of bridges being repaired that cause some temporary NYS Canal Closure
3) Recent stories about NY State Barge Canal closures as a result of breaches, leaks and or flooding.

The last one is the most important, as it paints a very different picture of the INTEGRITY & SAFETY of the NYS Canal System. What you will find is the complete opposite of what many are saying for over two years. If those folks are wrong about this simple idea, what else have they missed in their crusade against the Safety of the Canal & it's thousands of neighbors?

Many people have stated that the NY Barge Canal is "sound" even when all evidence suggest otherwise.

Here's a story about a canal embankment failure in Albion... from 2012, where 25 miles of the Canal had to be closed

https://www.uticaod.com/article/20120802/news/308029942?template=ampart



Though we rarely have any flooding issues along the canal in the Western Section, many folks in other sections have annual floods that close the canal, here's one from 2013

https://cnycentral.com/news/local/last-closed-section-of-erie-canal-to-reopen



And another story about a similar event in 2016 near Holley/Murray, again it was an EMBANKMENT failure that resulted in this closure
 
https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-30-mile-stretch-of-erie-canal-to-close-for-2016jun17-story.html



This story came from the the Central NYS Barge Canal section in 2017, 17 miles of the canal was closed for high hazard dam issue

https://www.passagemaker.com/trawler-news/17-mile-stretch-of-erie-canal-closes-for-repairs-reopens-briefly



This is the story about EMERGENCY repairs being made on the Canal System just to get it open for the 2018 Navigation season

https://www.whec.com/news/canal-corporation-begins-emergency-repairs/4847295/



And the most recent Canal Embankment Integrity & Safety work is outlined here by the Canal Corporation

http://www.canals.ny.gov/Earthen_Embankment/index.html



It too has been the topic of many stories in local news and on the Canal Corporation website

http://www.canals.ny.gov/news/pressrel/2018/canal-corporation-begins-next-phase-of-embankment-maintenance-in-western-ny.html

FINAL THOUGHTS:
If you look at these stories as a whole here's what it shows... in 7 years, from 2012-2019, five of those years saw embankment integrity issues, canal flooding concerns and now a NYS Canal Corporation PROGRAM created specifically to address the 125 miles of Raised Embankment Dams that have now become unsafe.

There is no argument that supports the Facebook groups contention, that the NYS Canal has only broken "once" at Bushnell's Basin. In fact, these news articles actually show that the Canal System is failing, at an alarming rate, and the time to fix the issues has risen to the point where there is NO OTHER OPTION for the safety & well-being of all communities who have grown up along America's FIRST superhighway. Five major floods or repairs in 7 years...

Of course if you want to ignore these stories and all this proof that the Canal is broken and needs to be fixed...that's you prerogative.

After all, there is a Facebook group fighting against Barge Canal Embankment Safety work that has been allowed to do that very thing since it started...
« Last Edit: January 22, 2020, 10:27:16 am by Doug K »

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