Thursday, December 27, 2007

Canal repair delayed but in the works

From the Morning Call:

Running about four months behind schedule because of administrative delays, repairs on the flood damaged Delaware Canal between Easton and Raubsville won't begin until spring at the latest, officials say.

State officials had hoped to begin the $10.9 million repair project in the fall, but it has taken several months to complete a memorandum of understanding among the various state and federal agencies funding the fix, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources spokesman Terry Brady said the state's construction contractor on the project says it may be able to start some of the work in the winter if there is not too much snow and ice.

''So much of the work will be debris removal, silt removal, things that can be done that are not weather dependent,'' Brady said.

The repair work will be done in four sections, starting with the portion of the canal between Easton and Groundhog Lock in Raubsville.

In total, the project is expected to cost between $35 million and $40 million covering repairs all the way down to New Hope.

The repairs are expected to include a new towpath, used by bicyclists, walkers and joggers, that will be less prone to being washed away by flooding.

About $265,664 in repairs to a variety of flood damaged structures including the chain dam crib embankment, Easton fish ladder and Lock 24 are also awaiting administrative approval, Brady said.

Joe Szafran, executive director of Friends of the Delaware River Canal, said getting the repairs done is the first step toward realizing the canal's full potential as a historical and recreational attraction.

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