Rain delays opening of canal system

Thursday, May 1, 2014
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— This year, the rain came early.

After a summer of floods and storms that forced the Erie Canal’s closure for weeks at a time, the rain is having an early effect on the canal system’s 2014 navigation season.

Due to the heavy rainfall that started Tuesday, the state Canal Corp. has delayed Saturday’s opening of the system and instead plans to open the waterway early next week, said spokesman Shane Mahar.

“We’ll have a better idea on the exact date once we get through this current rain event and see how conditions are reacting to what Mother Nature has dropped on us,” he said.

The canal can’t open until all of the needed navigation buoys are in place, and high and fast-flowing canal waters have halted work crews’ efforts to accomplish that, he said.

The Canal Corp. wants to be sure conditions are safe for employees and boaters before opening the canal to navigation, Mahar said.

“Everything is in a state of good repair and good working order, and our crews are ready to go,” he said. “What’s not ready are the navigation aids.”

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