Author Topic: Erie Canal Embankment Project Phase 2 - NYCC Update  (Read 74 times)

Doug K

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Erie Canal Embankment Project Phase 2 - NYCC Update
« on: November 28, 2018, 01:52:42 pm »
Hello Erie Canal Embankment Project Followers,

The ECNA had a great conversation today with the Western Division Construction Manager from the NY Canal Corporation who is now heading up the Phase 2 work for the Embankment Repair Project. I will share what I learned today in this post, and please bear in mind that all of this is somewhat “fluid” as much of the project work is “weather dictated”.

We also had a chance to talk with work crews in Spencerport from Tioga Construction & Ravi Engineering right at the Trimmer Road worksite. These guys are dedicated to the SAFETY of our communities but managed to take a little time today to speak with the ECNA about their work
For Embankment Repair Phase 2 there are 40 different work sites designated for Dam repairs between Middleport (Site 1) and Spencerport (Site 40). Work has already begun in Spencerport, starting from Trimmer Rd and running west. Stumps are being pulled and the ground is being repaired and graded to accept a top coating of 4” topsoil and hydro seed eventually next Spring. I’ve included a couple pictures here:

Work for each site will consist of stump pull, root grinding (to 1” size), and placement of special compacted earth in each of the stump holes. The Embankment will then be cleaned and groomed ready for more dirt and planting later. Each site will be completed from stump to clean slope BEFORE the work crew moves on to the next site.
This will hopefully be easier for all neighbors and look better than the Phase 1 work did.

Of course MUCH of this work is “weather dependent” especially back-filling which requires the Outboard Slope Embankment earth to be above 32 degrees as well as that special compacted earth which ALSO must be over 32 degrees to work into place in the stump voids. And if it wasn’t hard enough, it’s not just temperature limitations these Construction Crews have to deal with, all surfaces to be repaired have to watch MOISTURE content of both the replacement materials as well as the Outboard Embankment Slope. This is handled with the use of Tarps and Ground Heaters which will further slow the progress of the work.

The crew we spoke with from Tioga/Ravi was learning from their FIRST major repair. Here’s a picture of what soil drying looks like.

What makes this Erie Canal Embankment Dam Repair project so difficult?
If the Temperature & Moisture limitations weren’t enough, getting the raw material needed for this Remediation Project is equally challenging. All the repair materials REQUIRED are NOT easily available in the Winter months here. Topsoil, Compacted Dirt, Hydro-seeding, these are all done in “fair weather” seasons in Upstate NY. Still the Tioga Construction Crew and NYCC Management are confident they will get a large portion of the project moving well on days when the weather allows work to continue. Hopefully local suppliers will work with the Construction Crews but if needed these Engineering Firms are ready to bring in trainloads of materials as needed from “warmer” states. They feel the need is URGENT on this project and again are DEDICATED to the Safety Aspects of Embankment Dam Repairs for the surrounding communities.

All parties agree that for Phase 2, similar to Phase 1, the teams will start slow, learn the BEST methods and then add work crews as needed to meet the timelines and challenges with winter re-construction in this area. They want to hit one Work Zone and leave it ready for FINAL top soil & grass seeding BEFORE moving on to the next work area..  this will make it much more aesthetically pleasing to home owners and the general public.. but it is still a work in progress
The SCIENCE behind the NYCC Erie Canal Embankment Repair Projects.
Extensive efforts have been made by the NY Canal Corporation to insure a smooth flow of work for Phase 2. Engineers have pulled 10 years of Rochester weather data to analyze the average number of working days in the “off season” the meet the criteria of low precipitation and over 32 degrees to understand the working schedule and estimate resources.

The Project Team is also performing necessary SEQRA Environmental Studies on the rest of the Phase 1 areas along the ENTIRE route of the Erie Canal on the raised Embankment Dam sections. This is to insure that NO ISSUES seen in the Towns EAST of Rochester are repeated in the future. That SEQR study is ongoing and reports will be filed as needed, when needed.

The NYCC has also started to use DRONE technology, combined with Thermal Imaging cameras that allow them to examine and monitor over 300 ACTIVE Erie Canal “areas of concern”. Some of these are past leaks, some are newly found leaks after finally being able to INSPECT the Embankments from Spencerport westward. For those who continue to believe the Erie Canal is “safe” and there’s “no need” for this Remediation Project. All I can say is EVERYONE the ECNA has ever contacted regarding this  project is of a common voice.. the Erie Canal is in DESPERATE need of this project and embankment repairs... it’s not a matter of IF the Erie Canal will breach.. it’s WHEN. This project is trying desperately to remedy that situation and insure ANY possibility of a FLOOD is remedied by the PROPER & TIMELY REPAIR of ALL Embankments.

How can ALL of Us help?
The Project Manager also discussed Trail Closures and possible use of Shuttle Buses (with bike racks) to get Erie Canal Trailway (ECT) Users “around the construction zones if needed. Logistically it appears the NYCC has added many resources to the project including people to mark Trail Closures and insure the Work Crews are NOT being hassled by the public while trying to do their jobs. Expect that major areas of the Erie Canal Trail will be closed & pedestrian travel will be “rerouted” as needed for Phase 2.

Give the Construction Crews and Project Team a BREAK and let them do their JOB… They are serious about SAFETY and have little patience for those who don’t. Just like roadway work in our area says...“Give ‘em a Break” and try to steer clear of the ECT if crews will be working in your area. These folks are trying to HELP.... and they are DOING their JOBS.

Future Project Team Update Meetings
The ECNA is hoping to get involved with bi-weekly Phase 2 & 2.5 Project Meetings. Part to pass along work schedule meetings and part to share the “Voice of the ECNA” there as needed. Right now the project IS running as planned WEST of Rochester, and Phase 2 work with Grass is due Spring of 2019. The ECNA also wants to start discussing the next Phase, 2.5 for lack of a better name, which will start talking with the MOST SEVERELY AFFECTED Erie Canal Neighbors about replacement barrier plantings for those with large properties or homeowners in close proximity to the Embankments.
If we do get an invite we will be let others know and start to solicit input from others in the ECNA for meeting talking points, so stay tuned.

We are also asking Construction Crews, NYPA and New York Canal Corporation to try and publish a “tentative” work schedule in the near future. As stated to us, it ALL depends on the weather and as we see now..  Winter has arrived here EARLY. In most cases the Trail Closures and work zones are only projected 2 weeks out right now…and always will be “fluid” and subject to Change without Notice. If we can get a copy of the schedule we will post it here, it may be delayed as these teams works to understand the Phase 2 work progression better and try to estimate how that translates to the other 39 Work Zone Areas. Each area is unique, each has varied stump sizes & quantity.. oh.. and it ALL depends on the WEATHER.

Thanks for reading. Hope this answers some of the questions you have had now that Erie Canal Work is back underway.

« Last Edit: November 28, 2018, 02:31:00 pm by Michael Caswell »

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