Construction is under way at Amsterdam’s Lock E-11 on the Erie Canal with the Canal Corporation investing $40 million to repair and restore the moveable dam and nearby Guy Park Manor.
After tropical storms Irene and Lee in 2011, the Canal Corp. has been working to rehabilitate property on the Erie Canal. The Lock E-11 project seeks to rebuild and prepare for future natural disasters.
Work at Lock E-11 will be completed by 2017 and includes repairs to the movable dam along with restoration of the historic Guy Park Manor. An early flood warning system will also be created to help detect the threat of future storms in the area.
“These removable dams are about 100 years old, so they aren’t exactly new,” said Brian Stratton, director of the Canal Corp., during a news conference at the lock on Monday. “They will be stronger and safer and built back extremely well. The total damage from Irene and Lee was about $85 million just to put the canal back together.”
About $28 million will be allocated for the construction of the moveable dam and $8.5 million will be used to establish the flood warning system. The remaining funds, $3.5 million, will go toward Guy Park Manor. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will reimburse 75 percent of each project.
The early warning system will be up and running by 2015, Stratton said. Also, Guy Park Manor will be fully restored by the end of 2016. The projects are part of the state’s “Build Back Better” program, which began following several years of extreme weather in New York.
“The improvements we are making will have a tremendous impact on bringing New York’s canals back stronger than ever,” Stratton said. “Matched with the new innovative flood warning system, we will be as prepared as we can to deal with the next punch that Mother Nature throws.”
The moveable dams, which will be finished by 2017, were built in the early 1900s. The dams are used to create navigation pools because the Mohawk River is too shallow in some areas for boats to travel.
Lock E-11 is not the only property under construction on the Erie Canal. The Canal Corp. is also working to restore seven other moveable dams at every lock between Scotia and Fort Plain. Construction at Lock E-13 in Yosts was recently completed.
Lock E-8 in Scotia to Lock E-15 in Fort Plain are nearly 60 percent complete, according to Stratton. Repairs after severe weather have been ongoing since January 2012 and were approved by FEMA in April 2013.
“All of the locks are being repaired and will certainly help us to address any future issues with weather,” said Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy. “There are a lot of men and women working on these projects, so not only is it great for Amsterdam and communities along the canals, but also it is about putting people to work.”