Friends of the Delaware Canal
About the Friends

Breaking News

September 23, 2015

The Delaware River has once again dropped near and below the level of the New Hope inlet. When this happens the southern end of the Canal from New Hope to Bristol is water starved. Tomorrow the Park staff will be dredging the inlet opening to get out what little debris may be hampering water flow.

Once again, gentle rain will be very welcome.

September 4, 2015

Two projects down - one to go.

The replacement of the Cuttalossa Culvert is finished, and the towpath has been reopened!

The towpath bank collapse north of Wy-Hit-Tuk Park is repaired. The towpath is open and the Lehigh River gate has been opened to refill the Canal gradually.

The High Falls Creek Culvert project is back in gear, and the materials to sleeve the full length of the culvert are on order.

August 26, 2015

Bi-State Construction is expected to begin repairing the towpath bank collapse north of Wy-Hit-Tuk Park in Easton tomorrow.

The Cuttalossa Culvert replacement project is nearly finished.

Cuttalossa Culvert

The engineering consultant has determined that sleeving the entire length of the High Falls Creek culver will serve as a permanent repair. This is very good news because the project can move forward quickly rather than waiting to a new structure to be designed, funded and bid.

August 21, 2015

Today's update on the towpath bank collapse in Easton. The collapse is located approximately one mile north of Wy-Hit-Tuk Park. The opening is approximately 10 feet wide and extends from the Canal water line toward the River wall about 12 feet. The Park has CLOSED THE TOWPATH FROM THE FORKS OF THE DELAWARE IN EASTON TO WY-HIT-TUK PARK. To prevent further erosion, the gate at the Lehigh River will be closed and the water level in the Canal will drop. The Park will be on alert for stranded fish and other aquatic life. If you see any creatures in distress, please send out an alert. Everyone is seeking a solution.he Canal isn't catching any breaks so far this year.

bank break

August 20, 2015

This afternoon, the Park Manager reported that a 6 ft. diameter hole has developed in the Canal and 2/3rds of the way across the towpath north of I-78 in Easton. Course of action being determined. The water level in the north will drop.

August 6, 2015

Several repair options for the High Falls Creek culvert collapse in Upper Black Eddywere developed by the contractor. The task of evaluating these options was assigned to an outside engineering consultant. Borings and surveying needed to be done and have been completed. The consultant is in the final stages of developing a hydraulics report, which is expected to be done by mid-August. The results of the report will show the way forward. In terms of rewatering the Canal sooner rather than later, repair with long-term results is the much preferred outcome.

The replacement of the Cuttalossa Creek culvert is now going well and should be completed in September.

June 18, 2015

From Rick Dalton, Park Manager -

While removing the silt/rocks from the culvert it was discovered that the remaining section of the culvert is not intact. Yesterday it was discovered that a few of the large stones are missing and there is some bulging exhibited. It was beneficial that we added the removal of the debris to the project and were able to access and inspect the rest of the culvert. It could have possibly collapsed when backfill would have been placed over it.

The plan is to expose as much of the remainder of the culvert and extend the area to be covered by the steel plates. This includes additional excavation, extending the concrete footers and ordering additional plates. The contractor was instructed to provide an estimate for the additional work and additional funding needs to be secured. The lead time on the plates is 4 to 6 weeks so the trail connection and water flow will be delayed.

This delay is certainly not good news but I wanted keep you informed.

May 28, 2015

The metal arch for the culvert at High Falls Creek in Upper Black Eddy is due to arrive any day now. Meanwhile, Bi-State Construction is bringing in a "rock vac" to remove about 4 ft. of accumulated stone from the bottom of the remaining two old culvert sections.

May 20, 2015

Work is underway on the replacement of the Cuttalossa Creek culvert south of Lumberville.

cuttolssa culverrt

April 17, 2015

Good news! Bi-State Construction is busy restoring the towpath surface at Groundhog Lock between Riegelsville and Raubsville. This is the last step in the PennDOT wall installation project.
Happy walking and riding!

groundhog lock towpath restoration

April 6, 2015

Evaluations of the two collapses are still underway. Bi-State Construction is installing a coffer dam north of the culvert collapse to prevent the canal water from flowing into the Delaware River.

March 27, 2015

The bad day. The stone arch culvert that carries the water of High Falls Creek in Upper Black Eddy collapsed AND a long section of stone wall on the berm side of the canal prism at the David Library of the American Revolution in Washington Crossing fell in.

The water from the Lehigh River cannot be run through the culvert collapse site and the towpath is closed here. The fallen wall is not having a significant effect on the water flow south of Washington Crossing.

March 19, 2015

Lehigh River water is on its way south. Rick Dalton, the Park Manager, reported this morning that the gates at Raubsville and Easton have been opened to start the process of rewatering the Canal. The Park wants to build on the advantage of runoff from the thawing snow and ice.

Bi-State Construction will start building the coffer dam at the southern end of Lumberville on March 24th.


February 6, 2015

The replacement of the bypass pipe at Lock 2o is finished. The Army Corps of Engineers has required that the PennDOT contractor refine the berm contours at the wall installation project south of Groundhog Lock. It is expected to be an "in and out" project.

Making Progress on All Fronts

Park Manager's Report by Rick Dalton

The PennDOT project to remove the large stone from the Canal south of the Theodore Roosevelt Recreation Area in Raubsville is complete as far as work within the Canal prism. After a storm, PennDOT placed tons of stone on the Route 611/Canal slope as a temporary measure to shore up the road after it had eroded. The stone, which would have blocked the flow of water and compromised the towpath bank was removed. Then a concrete wall was constructed along the unstable stretch of berm bank. We have been holding the water back at Raubsville due to this project since last fall.

The Park is replacing the bypass pipe at Lock 20 in the Narrows section of the Canal south of Kintnersville. As I write, this project is underway and is expected to be finished by the end of January. Once the pipe is installed, we will be able to send the Lehigh River water, which is currently being held at Raubsviille, downstream.

The Park staff took advantage of the dry canal to make repairs that became evident while we had water in the Canal last summer. These projects included repairs to waste gates, placing clay where leaks were noted, pointing stone work, and other items.

Another important project is the replacement of the culvert that carries the Cutalossa Creek under the Canal near Busick's quarry. Bids will be received for the work on January 15. This is a large project in scope and will take several months to complete. Our plan is to place a coffer dam across the Canal at the southern end of Lumberville so that we can have water to Lumberville while the project is ongoing. The towpath is CLOSED at this location.

The remaining four towpath obstructions from Morrisville south to Bristol are in varying stages of being overcome. The project to construct a passageway through the railroad embankment that obstructs the towpath just south of Morrisville is in the final stages of development. This should go out to bid in 2015. Also, as part of the large PennDOT Route 13 project, a pedestrian crossing will be installed across Green Lane and another across Route 13 to provide a safe access to the towpath.

As part of a separate PennDOT bridge replacement project at Tyburn Road, a detour around the Tyburn Road obstruction is to be included. We also have a design to provide ramps and a pedestrian crossing at Bridge Street in Morrisville. When these projects are completed the section of the Canal from Morrisville to Bristol will be much safer and easier to travel along. I would like to thank the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the East Coast Greenway for their assistance in resolving these obstacles.

We are currently working on the design to rebuild a wall that has collapsed one mile upstream of the Stoney Run Aqueduct in Washington Crossing.

DCNR secured $12 million through the Department of General Services to address infrastructure needs along the Canal, specifically bridges and culverts. This is quite a windfall and will enable us to reduce the number of projects on our needs list. We have submitted a list of projects to DGS for approval. There are three bridges currently in design which include Phillips' Mill, Lower Limeport and Redfield, all in the New Hope area.

A feasibility study is being conducted of the proposal to construct a Park Office/Visitors' Center in New Hope where the concession building is now located next to the Locktender's House. The concept is to move our administrative staff into the new center along with an interpretive area and a space for the concession operator.

We repaired the pump and electrical infrastructure at the Durham location and operated it for a period of about two months to evaluate what the capacity of the pump would be. I would like to thank the Friends along with DC21 for funding the payment of the electric for this test.

As you read through this, you can see that there are many good things on the horizon for the Canal. As always I would like to take the opportunity to thank your organization for the support that is a valuable resource to me and the Park. Recent examples of accomplishments by the Friends are the repairs to the Hazzard's Camelback Bridge and the Mechanic Street Bridge, and the timber sill replacements at Locks 18 and 15/16. These were definitely needed and greatly enhance the Canal's stability.


January 14, 2015

A field reporter says that the new pipe is in the ground at the Lock 20 bypass and that the job will probably be finished by early next week.

January 12, 2015

The PennDOT wall is complete!

PennDOT wall

December 31, 2014

The PennDOT wall installation project in Raubsville is coming to a close!

Groundhog PennDOT

December 19, 2014

The PennDOT wall installation project in Raubsville and the Lock 20 bypass project in Kintnersville are on schedule to be completed early in January. When finished, the Park staff plans to allow the Lehigh River water to freely flow south as far as it will go, but stopping it short of the Cuttalossa Culvert collapse.

December 8, 2014

This weekend's rain help to fill the Canal with runoff, especially in the Point Pleasant area. The Park's work on decreasing the leakage at waste gates is working. Here's a photo taken yesterday at the Lock 14 bypass in Point Pleasant.

Point Pleasant

November 20, 2014

The water level has risen quickly in New Hope. In fact, it's at its highest level in recent memory.

November 17, 2014

A second inspection revealed that the Lock 20 bypass pipe needs to be replaced entirely or slip-lined. Stay tuned.

November 17, 2014

The electrician replaced wiring in the breaker box of the Centre Bridge pump, and it has been running since Saturday. May be water rise quickly.

November 15, 2014

The Centre Bridge pump stopped operating reliably on late in the week, mostly being in the off mode.. The water level dropped dramatically from Centre Bridge to New Hope.

November 10, 2014

The Lock 20 bypass pipe is in better shape than anticipated. Only the end is affected, so the project will take less time and be less expensive.

November 5, 2014

The Delaware Canal State Park has announced that the towpath trail in the area of the PennDOT wall project, located just south of Groundhog Lock aka the Theodore Roosevelt Recreation Area in Raubsville, has been completely closed to pedestrian and bicycle traffic, including weekends. Chainlink fence barriers have been erected. Please use other areas of the towpath trail while this project is ongoing. Completion is still anticipated by January 2015.

November 4, 2014

The pump at Durham has been shut down to allow the repair of the bypass at Lock 20 south of Kintnersville. The length of this project will be determined after the bypass pipe is fully evaluated.

October 23, 2014

Progress is being made on the wall installation project at Locks 22/23 in Raubsville.

wall project 102314

October 14, 2014

The Durham pump water has made it to Lock 19/Lodi. The flow is being blocked from heading any farther south, so that the northern level can build in depth.

October 8, 2014

The pump at Durham Lock is back on.

October 6, 2014

River water being pumped into the Canal at Durham Lock has made its way south to Upper Black Eddy. The pump was turned off today to allow the Park maintenance crew to repair a hole near the Narrows. It is anticipated that it will be put back into service on Wednesday. durham pump

October 3, 2014

The Intelligencer: Under the watchful eye of the U.S.Army Corps of Engineers and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, contractors for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation have begun restoration work on the Delaware Canal in Northampton County. This work allows the DCNR to complete work in the canal in Bucks County.

Locks 22 23

October 2, 2014

The pump located in the River adjacent to Durham Lock has started to supply the Canal with water.

October 1, 2014
The rocks on the bank have been removed at Locks 22/23. On to the wall construction.

Locks 22 23

September 23, 2014

The PennDOT rock removal/wall construction project at Locks 22/23 in Raubsville has begun.

September 16, 2014

The Park staff has begun to drop the water level from Locks 22/23 in Raubsville south to Point Pleasant to get ready for the start of the imminent PennDOT project.

September 12, 2014

The reinstallation of the electrical equipment at the Durham pump site has begun.

PennDOT is scheduled to begin their rock removal/road wall project just south of Locks 22/23 in Raubsville on October 1st.

August 15, 2014

While riding this Canal rewatering roller coaster, it's easy to lose track of how far we've come. Here are then and now photos. The first taken looking south from Groundhog Lock on September 25, 2011 after Hurricanes Irene and Lee.

The second taken at the same location today. Pretty amazing.

Groundhog Lock 2011

Groundhog Lock 2014

August 13, 2014

The water has retreated from Point Pleasant because of several factors related to water flow from Easton. The wickets at Locks 22/23 in Raubsville were severely clogged again. The Park maintenance staff did a major clean-out yesterday. The photos that follow are after clean-out shots. Also the Park had to discontinue running water through the bypass at Lock 20 near the Nockamixon Cliffs. The condition of the bypass threatened to compromise Rt. 611/River Road. The water will now be run through the cutout in the bulkhead at Lock 20. In order to do so, the water level to the north has to build up to the level of the cutout. This shouldn't take too long.

Groundhog Lock

Groundhog Lock south

August 8, 2014

Erase the bad news. Just got word that the Centre Bridge pump is back in operation and may even work better than before!.

August 7, 2014

Good news and bad news. The good news - the leading edge of the water has reached Devil's Half Acre north of Lumberville. The bad news - the pump at Centre Bridge stopped operating today. The Park brought in the pump repairman immediately. With expert work and luck, it will be operating again tomorrow. Cross your fingers for the luck part.

Devils Half Acre

August 6, 2014

The water has made it to the Mountainside Inn on the south end of Point Pleasant.

August 5, 2014

After a retreat northward caused by blocked wickets at Locks 22/23, the water is headed southward again. It has passed Bridge 1 and is headed toward the center of Point Pleasant.

rewatering Point Pleasant

July 30, 2014

The water temporarily reached a point several hundred yards south of Bridge 1 in Point Pleasant as a result of a surge caused by opening the bypass at Locks 15/16. Now its back to being on its way to Bridge 2.

Meanwhile, the water level south of the town of New Hope has been low for several days because masons are repairing the bottom of a stone wall at the Waterworks condos in New Hope. The Park staff opened the waste gates at Bowman's Hill to lower the water, but now have closed them. The water is now rising.

July 28, 2014

The leading edge is still between Bridge 3 and Bridge 2 north of Point Pleasant, but the rate of flow has increased since a good head of water has built up behind Lock 17 and Locks 15/16.

July 25, 2014

The leading edge of the water is between Bridge 3 and Bridge 2 north of Point Pleasant. The current slow pace is due to adjustments being made in the Upper Black Eddy area.

July 18, 2014

Problems with leaks in Upper Black Eddy so the leading edge of the water won't be progressing much until some work is done.

July 15, 2014

The leading edge of the water is at Bridge 4 in Smithtown.

July 14, 2014

The Lehigh River water has reached the Tinicum Aqueduct. The Park staff intends to let the water run down to Lock 17 at Treasure Island and fill the level.


Erwinna - July 13.

July 11, 2014

The Canal today at the Homestead Store in Upper Black Eddy.


July 10, 2014

There is a full head of water in the Canal from Easton to Lock 20, and the leading edge of the Lehigh River water has reached Lock 19 at Lodi/Park Headquarters, The water has traveled 17 miles in 18 days.


Kayakers are already in the water at Groundhog Lock.

July 8, 2014

This morning the water level in the Canal was high enough to flow over the bulkhead at Lock 20 in Kintnersville. The leading edge of the water is south of the Indian Rock Inn.

Lock 20


July 3, 2014

The Lehigh River water has made through Durham Lock. The plan is to build the water level from Easton to Durham.

Rewatering Durham 7-3

July 2, 2014

The leading edge of the water flowing into the Canal from the Lehigh River has made it past Riegelsville. This photo, showing the view just north of Groundhog Lock, was taken yesterday evening. On Sunday, only weeds could be seen in the Canal prism.

Groundhog 7-1

July 1, 2014

The water level in the Canal has been lowered south of Morrisville has been lowered so that PennDOT can repair a collapsed culvert pipe where Old Route 13 crosses the Canal.

June 27, 2014

The Lehigh River water has reached Groundhog Lock aka the Theodore Roosevelt Recreation Area nearly six miles south of Easton. The Park intends to build a full head of water in the Easton to Groundhog section, and then allow the water to flow south from there.

rewatering Groundhog Lock

June 24, 2014

Yesterday the Park staff opened the Lehigh River gate in Easton about 4" to accomplish gradual rewatering. Today the leading edge of the water has reached the town of Raubsville.

Lock 24

Incoming water at Lock 24 in Easton

Water at Wy-Hit-tTuk

Looking north at Wy-Hit-Tuk Park.

June 13, 2014

The water continues to rise nicely from Centre Bridge to New Hope. Keep those fingers and toes crossed.

Bi-State Construction is working on the timber course replacement project at Lock 18 in Uhlerstown.

June 4, 2014

The water being pumped into the Canal at Centre Bridge has reached Lock 11 in New Hope!

June 3, 2014

The flood repair contractor will be pulling out of Easton later this week.

The Centre Bridge pump is back in operation. The stretch from Centre Bridge to the southern edge of the New Hope relining project had water this morning - accomplished in just one day. Cross your fingers and toes that the water continues to flow and flow.

Water at Lower Limeport Bridge

June 3 - 10:30 a.m. at the Lower Limeport Bridge

Water at New Hope Relining

June 3 - 10:45 a.m. at the New Hope relining project - Mile Marker 25

May 22, 2014

Trouble at the large concrete box culvert that carries the Cuttalossa Creek under the Canal. A recent inspection by State engineers has determined that the culvert is in danger of collapsing and could put park visitors at risk. Therefore, the Park has closed the towpath between the Virginia Forrest Recreation Area, which is 1.3 miles north of Centre Bridge, and Lock 12 in Lumberville. The towpath north and south of this section remain open. 
Replacement of this culvert has been on DCNR's priority list and was already on the project calendar for fiscal year 2014. At this point, it is anticipated that the project, estimated to cost $1 million, will be bid early in 2015. Meanwhile access alternatives are being investigated.

May 13, 2014

The X-braces on Hazzard's Bridge, one of the six remaining authentic camelback bridges, have been replaced by R-Shell Exteriors. This project was funded by the Friends of the Delaware Canal in its continuing quest to preserve the Canal's historic bridges.

hazzards bridge

May 12, 2014

The bentomat lining in New Hope is being installed. The materials and equipment are on site.

May 8, 2014

The installation of bentomat lining between Mile Marker 25 to a point 600 ft. north in New Hope is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 12.

May 1, 2014

For those of you who live along the Canal - PLEASE do not throw branches and yard waste into the Canal. It doesn't miraculously disappear, it just flows to the next waste gate or lock structure south. In high water situations like last night, the material can clog the waste gates and hinder water flow. The level of water in the Canal rises and can overtop the towpath. Canal banks and adjoining properties are threatened. And the Park maintenance staff, who have to clear the debris during the height of the storm, are forced into very risky situations. 
The Canal almost overtopped in some areas last night, but fortunately the Park Staff was out opening gates, monitoring, and clearing - and the rain let up. 
Please help by doing your part to keep the prism clear of yard waste, branches and debris.

Lawn Waste at Lock 11

April 29, 2014

The flood repair work is coming to an end, but a date for the introduction of Lehigh River water hasn't been set. Two problems developed during the past week. A corrugated metal culvert pipe that runs under the towpath at the Durham Lock collapsed leaving a hole in the towpath, and a river wall north of the Virginia Forrest Recreation area gave way causing the the towpath bank to collapse. The Park staff will attack these issues asap. The River is still too high to access the pump at Centre Bridge to determine its problem.

April 8, 2014

The pump that provides water for the Centre Bridge to New Hope section of the Canal stopped operating last weekend. The water level in the section has dropped to the level of the pump inflow pipe. The Park staff cannot investigate the cause of the breakdown because the River is too high to access the equipment. It is believed that the problem is mechanical. The Park is monitoring the situation daily and will take action as soon as they can get to the pump.

March 13, 2014

Both flood repair contractors are back at work full speed.

The Tri-State contract has been extended to April 15th; the Bi-State contract to April 27th because of the winter weather conditions.

February 14, 2014

The contract for the bentomat lining project in New Hope has been awarded to Rutlidge Excavating.

January 20, 2014

There is water in the Canal from the river inlet in New Hope south to the Bristol Lagoon.

January 9, 2014

The temperature is up to 26 degrees, and the flood repair contractors are back at work. The new drop gate at Lock 9 in New Hope has been installed, and the chamber is going cleared of accumulated stone and debris.

lock 9

December 19, 2013

Bi-State Construction is working at Lock 9 in New Hope where tons and tons of stone and silt were deposited by an incoming stream.

Flood Repairs at Lock 9

December 18, 2013

Tri-State has 50% of is work complete. Bi-State is 85% complete.

November 22, 2013

Both Tri-State and Bi-State are making great progress on the flood repair work.

Here's a shot of the towpath south of Groundhog Lock in Raubsville.

flood repairs south of Groundhog Lock

November 18, 2013

It's official! The Route 13 passageways in Levittown are open for business. Go well and safely, Canal visitors.

Route 13 passageway ribbon cutting

October 29, 2013

Last week the Delaware Canal State Park maintenance staff turned off the pump at Centre Bridge in order to lower the water level enough to remove a silt bar that was blocking flow south of the Centre Bridge Inn. There was a problem with turning the pump back on, and the Canal drained down causing a fish kill near Phillips' Mill over the weekend. Fish kills are things we never want to see. The Canal is meant to be a wonderful watered habitat.
In this case, the kill probably could have been prevented had someone who was using the towpath or driving by the Canal called the State Park or the Friends to alert us that the water level was too low.
The Canal is sustained by the community, and watchful people who share what they see are the Canal's best friends. The Park's number is 610-982-5560; the Friends 215-862-2021. Your help and information is always appreciated.

October 28, 2013

The huge River/Canal wall break is no more. The repair work is complete! The Canal prism is intact and capable of holding water again.

River Wall Repair complete

October 21, 2013

Tri-State at work restoring the towpath between Fry's Run and Mueller's Store.

It's a tight space.

flood repairs

October 15, 2013

Tri-State Dredging has crews working between the Theodore Roosevelt Recreation Area and Mueller's Store. The towpath north of Mueller's is being restored. This section was quite hazardous.

October 1, 2013

Tri-State Dredging has a crew working on the stone wall directly south of Locks 22/23 (Groundhog Lock) in Raubsville.

flood repairs groundhog lock


Equipment is rumbling; earth is moving; rock is being put back into place. The Delaware Canal flood repairs are well underway.

Tri-State Dredging, Inc. started its work in Easton with towpath repairs that had the secondary benefit of facilitating equipment access. The company is now tackling the major break in the wall that separates the Canal from the Delaware River. This break, located near the Easton Sewage Treatment Plant, prevents Lehigh River water from flowing south to fill the Easton to New Hope section of the Canal. This is a major job with major consequences. Tri-State's scope of work includes repairs to sections of the Canal as far south as the Virginia Forrest Recreation Area.

Bi-State Contruction, Inc., the company that was awarded the "structures" projects began its work at Lock 12 in Lumberville with the rebuilding of one of the stone lock walls. The repair of the following structures is included in the Bi-State contract:

From north to south -

Easton Fish Ladder - remove debris and silt from the "lagoon" upstream of the Locks (2200 tons); some fence repair.

Easton Sewage Treatment Plant Stop Gates - repair and reset gates; replace steps to bridge.

Wy-Hit-Tuk Stop Gates - repair and reset one gate; rebuild and reset the other.

Raubsville - repair wall at the entrance to culvert that is under the Canal; some berm repairs; remove debris from Lock.

Sunday Road Culvert - remove debris and place rip rap.

Mulligan's Bridge - repair river slope.

Lock 17 - rebuild walls.

Bridge 4 - remove debris and place rip rap.

Tohickon Aqueduct - remove debris that is hung up underneath the aqueduct and repair fascia boards.

Lumberville Aqueduct- repair stone wing wall, repoint southeasterm wing wall, replace handrail, remove debris under aqueduct (3000 tons).

Lock 12 - rebuild walls and reset gates.

New Hope/Odette's - replace Lock 9 drop gate, replace waterman gate at inlet, replace guiderail, repair berm slope, replace blacktop, remove debris from culvert entrance, remove debris from spillway (1100 tons).

Milk House Bridge - remove debris.

Lock 7 - repair bypass channel.

Both Tri-State Dredging and Bi-State Construction are progressing well with their projects.

We'll cross our fingers for favorable winter weather that will allow them to work through January and February to their anticipated completion dates in March.



September 23, 2013

Bi-State has started to work on the New Hope Inlet wall collapse.

September 17, 2013

Tri-State Dredging is making progress on the repair of the major River wall break south of Easton.

River Wall repair

August 30, 2013

PennDOT is replacing the Tyburn Road Bridge, and there is construction activity taking place in the vicinity of the traditional towpath trail detour route. Please be watchful and obey all posted signs regarding trail closures, etc.

August 16, 2013

Bi-State Construction has started the flood repair work on Lock 12 in Lumberville.

Lock 12 Flood Repairs

August 5, 2013

Tri-State Dredging is repairing flood damage in the vicinity of the sewer treatment plant south of Easton.

Flood Repairs South of Easton

July 24, 2013

The Delaware Canal State Park has a machine and its name is Menzi Muck. Capable of going up and down banks and working in water, it's a handy piece. It was out of commission for months, but has returned and currently is removing heavy vegetation from the Canal near the Route 202 bridge in New Hope. This should help water flow in the Centre Bridge-New Hope section.

Menzi Muck at 202

July 22, 2013

Tri-State Dredging is building the access way into the site of the major bank break south of Easton.

Canal Repair Easton Bank Break

Bi-State Construction has received Notice to Proceed with the structures portion of the flood repair project, and the Initial Job Conference was held today.

It's Happening!

After an interminable wait, the Delaware Canal flood repair work has begun. One contractor has mobilized equipment in Easton and closed off the towpath access. A second contractor will be given Notice to Proceed very soon. (By the time this newsletter is received, it should be a long-done deal.)

A contract for $5,897,000 was awarded to Tri-State Dredging, Inc. of Philadelphia for canal and towpath repairs and debris removal. Another contract for $1,464,725 was awarded to Bi-State Construction, Inc. of Easton for repairs to canal structures. Both contractors have prior experience with the Delaware Canal. Each of the projects must be completed no later than march 1, 2014.

Alfred Uzokwe, P.E., Director of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau Facility Design and Construction in Harrisburg, recently wrote a summary of the flood repair process, which is shared here.

Director's Notes

Delaware Canal Flood Repair Projects

"Just as DCNR staff were tryinig to assess the damages caused by Hurricane Irene on the Delaware Canal in September of 2011, another storm, Tropical Storm Lee, unloaded its own fury on Pennsylvania's 60-mile treasure. Basically, the damages became a conglomerate of damages caused by both storms.

Undaunted by the challenge, DCNR staff worked collaboratively with the various stakeholders, including FEMA, PEMA, Bureau of Facility Design and Construction, Bureau of State Parks, Friends of the Delaware Canal, Bucks and Northampton County Conservation districts, Fish and Boat Commission, counties and municipalities. Work included joint site visits and assessment of the 40-miles of damaged towpath, walls and structures. It was also important at this time to determine access points from which repair work could be done. The site visits culminated in the preparation of detailed descriptions of the flood damages and preparation of Project Worksheets (PWs) for use by FEMA in approval of damages to be repaired. Because of the historic nature of the Delaware Canal, DCNR staff had to work with the staff of Environmental Historic Preservation to hash out the modalities for ensuring that repair work could be accomplished without compromising the historic characteristics of the canal.

With detailed information, staff of the Bureau of Facility Design and Construction worked diligently to develop plans and specifications for the repair work to be done. Repair work will be accomplished under two contracts - site and structures. I am pleased to say that Notice to Proceed has been given to the contractor and construction will start soon on the site repair part of the work. (Update: Construction has begun.) The structural portion is to follow in a few weeks. The work under the site portion consists of the repair of flood damages at locations along 32 miles of the canal, towpath and associated banks and berms. This includes excavation of sediment deposits and cobbles within the canal cross section, rehabilitation and reinforcement of the towpath, seeding and mulching. The intent of this project is to restore the eroded Delaware Canal to its pre-flood dimensions at locations as shown and/or described. The structures part of the bid will follow in a few weeks and it consists of stone masonry repair, rebuilding of historic lock structures, repair of timber miter and drop gates, and debris removal.

Hopefully, the elements will provide reprieve and allow the repair work to stand for awhile - a long while - after this repair cycle".

The Friends certainly share that hope, but know that all who share in the care of the Delaware Canal must always be seeking better solutions.

July 10, 2013

The flood repair work is underway! The first order of business for Tri-State Dredging was to remove the huge fallen trees from the Canal just south of Easton.

June 28, 2013

To retain pumped water, a coffer dam has been installed in New Hope about half way between the Rabbit Run bridge and the Bridge Street bridge. Relining will be done south of the coffer dam.

June 24, 2013

In the process of figuring out how so much water drained out of the Canal between Route 202 and Lock 11 in New Hope in the past several days. The Park has excellent leads and has formulated a repair game plan.

June 6, 2013

The Commonwealth of PA gave Tri-State Dredging, Inc. of Philadelphia Notice to Proceed with the flood repairs to the Canal prism today. The Initial Job Conference will be held within the next 10 days. To start, the contractor likely will be working on his mobilization efforts, which include various submittals/approvals and establishing his staging areas/access points, etc. Tri-State has completed other Delaware Canal projects, so they know the lay of the land.

April 23, 2013

The Route 13 improvement project is underway. Concrete Jersey barriers have been placed on one lane of the highway, so it is no longer possible make the road crossing from one section of the Canal towpath to the other near the Courier Times building in Levittown.

April 16, 2013

More than 175 volunteers turned out for Delaware Canal Clean-Up Day last Saturday! Thank you all for your help in giving the Canal its spring cleaning and making it a community asset.

clean up CBBC

The Central Bucks Bicycle Club Clean-Up Day crew had some furry helpers this year.


All signs indicate that some Delaware Canal waiting games are just about over.

The major flood repair work, which includes areas from Easton to Solebury Township, has been divided into two projects. The bids for the first project that include the large break south of Easton were opened on March 21. Since this newsletter has an early deadline, please visit - Breaking News for the results. If the contract award process goes smoothly, work should be underway in the Canal by July. The second flood repair project, which is termed the "structures" project, is due to go out for bids in April. With luck and determination, the Canal will be abuzz with repair activity later this year.

The flood repair work has taken what seems like forever to move forward. When one takes into consideration the number of government agencies involved in the approval of work on the Canal and the fact that their evaluation and approval processes are, for the most part, consecutive, not simultaneous, the length of time becomes more understandable. Understandable, but not likeable.

Construction on the Route 13 tunnels, which will carry Canal visitors under the busy, four lane highway north of Levittown Shopping Center, is due to start soon. PennDOT has incorporated the tunnel project as well as the repair of the water-carrying pipes into their much larger Route 13 Rehabilitation Project. This cooperative venture between PennDOT and DCNR is to be commended.

Work on the Canal prism in New Hope should allow the newly-repaired pump in Centre Bridge to do its job and fill the Canal from Centre Bridge to Lock 11 in New Hope.

The seasonal State Park staff return to work at the end of March enabling the Park to undertake more projects. The Friends's Canal Action Team, Canal Tenders, and Clean-up Day volunteers are there to help.

Plain and simply, "Let's Do It."

March 26, 2013

The water level continues to rise in the Centre Bridge to New Hope section thanks to the pump and the rain/snow. The section is beginning to look like a canal should. Knock on wood.

The bids for the first part of the major flood repairs from Easton to Lumberville were opened today. We'll find out who the low bidder is as soon as the bids are certified.

March 13, 2013

The prism work in New Hope is done, some minor repairs to the pump are complete, and the pump has been turned on. The Canal seems to be filling nicely. Knock on wood.

February 20, 2013

Bi-State Construction, under contract to the State Park, has finished lining a section of the Canal north of Uhlerstown and is now working between Rabbit Run Bridge and Bridge Street in New Hope. They are "smoothing" the prism of the Canal to close cracks and stop leakage.


Canal Action Team

It's time to get to work! There's more than enough to be done along the Delaware Canal. True, much of it requires heavy equipment and expertise, but there also are tasks that can be tackled by mortal volunteers that will have real impact.

If you want to help get the Canal back in shape, the Friends' new Canal Action Team is waiting for you.

The plan is to have small (perhaps, sometimes large) groups of volunteers go out on the Canal on a regularly scheduled basis and undertake tasks such as cutting off the saplings that break up stone walls, clearing brush and downed limbs, removing large debris, maintaining signs, taking care of small problems before they become big ones.

The C.A.T.


Anyone who wants to and can be physically active.


Saturday, April 13 at 9 a.m.


The Thompson-Neely Camelback Bridge in the northern section of Washington -Crossing Historic Park, off River Road about two miles south of New Hope proper.

The Job:

Preparing the camelback bridge for re-painting.


Dress for outdoor work - boots, gloves, and eye protection.

What to Bring:

Wire brushes, scrapers, putty knives, or any other equipment that you find useful.

The Plan:

If you are interested in being a part of the Canal Action Team, please call 215-862-2021 or e-mail and give us your contact info and your preferred work locations (north, central, south). We'll then put together a list of possible crew members. To each, we'll send the final details about the work days. This notice will arrive by e-mail or phone. If you can help on one or all of the days, just reply.

The C.A.T. can help get the Canal back in shape and give you the opportunity to work with your fellow Friends.


December 27, 2012

There is water in the Canal from Centre Bridge to Lock 11 in New Hope thanks to the pump and the rain.


December 14, 2012

Still "Hope-full" for Our Canal

Members and friends of the grass-roots community organization New Hope for Our canal have been watching closely as water driven by the Centre Bridge pump has slowly progressed toward New Hope. Two months after starting the pump, water literally inched southward, reaching the New Hope-Ivyland railyard just prior to the arrival of Super Storm Sandy.

Anticipating possible damage from Sandy, DCNR park personnel took the precaution of shutting the pump down. In that process, needed repairs to the pump's distribution pipe were identified and completed. With the pump idle, alarmed Canal watchers unexpectedly saw their hard-won water mysteriously recede to its starting point. Once the pumping process resumed water returned, adding another mystery by then reaching its previous southern edge in a mere four days.

The Canal water then advanced as far as Randolph Street (adjacent to the old Eagle Firehouse) in New Hope before retreating somewhat. DCNR is currently trying to identify the cause of this erratic progress. One possible reason for the "snail's pace" may be the dryness of the Canal prism. The Canal bed needs to absorb water and become saturated before the water can rise sufficiently to flow. In addition vegetation, prism depth variation and roots also interfere with water movement. Park staff members have been clearing downed trees and debris while monitoring the situation, and are actively testing for any possible prism faults; thus far no specific problems have been pinpointed.

If the Canal bed remains sound, Park Manager Rick Dalton has stated that he and his staff will keep the pump operating as long as there is no threat to the pump from winter weather or ice. In addition, New Hope for Our Canal members will continue to pursue their parallel objective of Canal beautification by participating in volunteer clean-up projects in cooperation with the Friends of the Delaware Canal. New Hope for Our Canal has already invested in extensive vegetation removal, has funded flower planting at the Locktender's House, has paid to replace stolen electric cable and has contributed monies to complete the Centre Bridge pump installation.

Perhaps the organization's most noteworthy improvement accomplishment to date has been to partner with the Friends of the Delaware Canal to repair the deteriorated stone wall on the New Hope towpath. Thanks to the T&T Tree service and the skilled craftsmen of Hertz and Dunn Masonry, the crumbling and vandalized wall is once again complete, safe and beautiful to behold. The members of New Hope for our Canal continue to appreciate the support of our community and will keep working to reach our goal of water from Centre Bridge to New Hope.

Submitted by Judith Franlin for New Hope for Our Canal

November 28, 2012

The leading edge of the pumped water has reached Randolph Street in New Hope proper.

November 16, 2012

The pump at Centre Bridge was turned back on yesterday at noon. In less than 24 hours, the leading edge of the water is past Phillips' Mill.

The Friends have raised $2500 to help the Park pay for a tree service to remove the largest of the fallen trees. Additional contributions are welcome.

November 13, 2012

The Park staff is making progress in clearing downed trees from the towpath. A tree service will have to be hired to handle the largest of the trees.

The pump at Centre Bridge is shut down. A pipe connection was dislodged during the storm and must be repaired before restarting. The pump repair company has been summoned.

November 2, 2012

Superstorm Sandy brought down lots and lots of trees, but the Canal experienced no major structural problems. The roof of the Virginia Forrest restroom was damaged. Considering the size of the storm, the scope of the damage is not bad at all.

October 1, 2012

The pumped water has made it into New Hope Borough and is headed for the train station.

September 21, 2012

The leading edge of the water being pumped into the Canal at Centre Bridge has reached Rabbit Run bridge. This photo was taken this morning looking north from the bridge.

Pumped Water Just North of Rabbit Run

September 20, 2012

The temporary trench that allowed Lehigh River water to flow past the wall break south of Easton didn't survive the heavy rains on Tuesday night.

The area from Easton to Upper Black Eddy will no longer have water. The trench will not be repaired because the Canal was scheduled to be dewatered by October 1st. This action is necessary to prepare for the major flood repairs that are scheduled to begin in late winter or spring. The restrictions concerning the habitat of the red-bellied turtles require that the only time that the Canal can be intentionally dewatered is between July 15 and October 1 when the turtles are neither wintering or reproducing. If the repairs are to begin in spring 2013, the dewatering must take place now.

River Wall Break

September 19, 2012

The lead edge of the pumped water from Centre Bridge has made its way to a point about halfway between the Route 202 bridge and Rabbit Run bridge. The rain helped.



Never a Dull Moment

One can never underestimate the challenges and pleasures that the Delaware Canal can provide.

From the North:

The Friends are keeping a close eye on a study to determine the feasibility of partially removing the Easton Dam. The purpose of the removal would be to facilitate the passage of fish between the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers. (The existing fish ladder at the Forks of the Delaware site has been deemed ineffective.) This study is of great importance to the Friends because the Easton Dam raises the Lehigh River to a level where it can serve as the primary water supply to the Delaware Canal. (The Dam also feeds the Lehigh Canal farther upstream.) After attending an August meeting where intermediate findings were presented, it would seem that the removal project will be far too expensive and complicated to execute, but we will remain very vigilant as the final report is completed and very vocal if the Canal is jeopardized in any way.

The trench dug through the area of the major Canal break south of Easton is holding up well, and water is flowing past it. Unfortunately, the trench capacity isn't enough to handle a full head of water from the feeder gates on the Lehigh River. This reduced flow is inhibiting the water from flowing much past Upper Black Eddy.

The Canal was picture perfect at Wy-Hit-Tuk Park at the end of August - full of water, banks mowed, birds singing, kids fishing. There's hope!

The expectation of having the major flood repair projects commence this fall has vanished. The PA DCNR Bureau of Facility Design and Construction cannot put the projects out to bid until the completed Project Work Sheets are received from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). The work sheets are overdue, and the Friends has enlisted Congressman Fitzpatrick's help in expediting them. Given that there is a required 90-day period between bidding and the start of construction, it would seem that early Spring 2013 is the likely start.

The pump that supplies Delaware River water for the Centre Bridge to Lock 11 in the New Hope section is back in operation with funding help from the community group New Hope for Our Canal, which is working in partnership with the Friends. New Hope for Our Canal stepped up when it was discovered that the wiring and other electrical apparatus had been stolen.

Pumping at Centre Bridge started in earnest on August 28, and the leading edge of the water was north of Phillips' Mill on September 4. The rewatering process has been slow because the Canal bed is especially sunbaked in the area north of Phillips' Mill, and there is a bit of an increase in elevation. The Park staff did dye testing for leaks in the area, and there were none in evidence. They also scraped a section of the bed to facilitate water flow. The Centre Bridge to New Hope section has been without water for a long time, so patience will be a virtue as we wait for the Canal to fill.

The Ferry Street bridge over the Canal in New Hope reopened on August 23. The 58-foot-long bridge carries two lanes of traffic and has pedestrian walkways on each side. It replicates the look of other area canal bridges with faux camelback trusses, timber railings, and abutments faced with stone. The $1.5 million project was undertaken by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) using the Keystone Fund, which is generated from a portion of the realty transfer tax.

The water levels in the Canal south of Odette's New Hope have been reasonably high thanks to the August rains. The Canal is fed through an inlet to the Delaware River, so the level of the Canal falls with the River.

The Route 13 pedestrian tunnel project, years in the planning, has been put out for bids by PennDOT. The project, located just north of the Bucks County Courier Times building in Tullytown, was engineered by PA DCNR , but responsibility for construction was taken over by PennDOT as a part of its larger Route 13 improvement project. The tunnel will alleviate one of the safety hazards/trail obstructions on the southern end of the Canal.

Bi-State Construction Co. was awarded a contract to reline the Delaware Canal in the Green Lane area of Bristol Township. The $164,655 project will stop leakage into adjoining properties.

These are the current highlights of what's happening along the Canal. As you can tell, it needs its Friends.



September 17, 2012

After "rushing" through Phillips' Mill, the pumped water is poking along on its way to the bridge at Canal Park, but it's almost there.

September 13, 2012

The pumped water coming into the Canal at Centre Bridge has made past the bridge at Phillips' Mill and is headed for Solebury's Canal Park.

September 7, 2012

Using a Gradall, the Park staff has scraped the bottom of the Canal prism north of Phillips' Mill to facilitate water flow. The soil in this section is very, very dry, so it is taking a while for the pumped water to saturate the ground. The good news is that the leading edge of the water continues to move southward and has almost reached Phillips' Mill proper. Keep those fingers and toes crossed.

September 4, 2012

The vegetation taming is done between Centre Bridge and Bridge Street in New Hope. The pump was turned back on last Tuesday, and the Canal is refilling slowly but surely. The leading edge of the water is north of Phillips' Mill. Cross your fingers and toes.

August 28, 2012

The Park staff is in the process of vegetation taming between Centre Bridge and New Hope. This photo was taken north of Phillips' Mill this morning.

Vegetation Taming

August 24, 2012

The pump at Centre Bridge is not operating. The Canal is being dried out a bit to facilitate vegetation taming which will take place next week.

August 23, 2012

The Ferry Street Bridge in New Hope was opened officially today. One less obstacle to watering the Centre Bridge to New Hope section.

Ferry Street Bridge Opening

August 15, 2012

The water coming from the pump at Centre Bridge has almost made it as far as Phillips' Mill.

In the north, the Lehigh River water has progressed to Uhlerstown.

August 7, 2012

The pump at Centre Bridge has been turned back on, and water has made it as far as the second bridge south of Centre Bridge.

And in the north, water is flowing south of Lodi since a gravel bar was removed at the Jugtown Hill Road Bridge construction site.

Water flowing past Jugtown Hill Road

July 12, 2012

There have been some minor holes to fill and structures to fix along the way, but the Lehigh River water has made to the wastegate at Lodi - 17.1 miles from Easton. Not too bad considering the heat, lack of rain, and partially opened River gate.

And there is good cause to believe that the pump in Centre Bridge will be turned on byJuly 23rd.


Here we are in the midst of another hot, dry summer - just the time when a fully watered Canal would be so welcome. Some significant progress has been made toward that goal, but a full head of water won't be flowing until the major flood repairs in the north and central sections of the Canal are completed next year.

Here's the progress report starting in the north:

The Park undertook a mammoth earth moving project south of Easton to temporarily reinforce the towpath bank where a huge break occurred during last year's storms. With the bank stabilized, a trench was dug so that water can be run through the area.

When the trench was finished, the Park partially opened the gates in Easton to allow Lehigh River water to flow into the Canal. The gates cannot be fully opened because that volume of water would damage the newly stabilized bank.

As of the second week in July, the Lehigh river water had reached Upper Black Eddy. As minor problems have materialized, they have been repaired. The hope is to get water much farther south to, at least, keep vegetation at bay.

The Bridgeton Hill Road Bridge replacement project in Upper Black Eddy is due to get underway before October 1st. The Canal's water will be run in pipes through the construction area near Homestead Store.

The Park reestablished the access path down to the Delaware River at Centre Bridge and removed an enormous silt bar from the Canal. This work paved the way for the installation of the pump that supplies Delaware River water to the section of the canal from Centre Bridge to Lock 11 in New Hope. The community initiative, New hope for Our Canal, has been successful in raising funds to pay the monthly electric bill for the pump and is also helping the Park pay for the replacement of the pump-related copper wiring that was stolen.

In New Hope Borough proper, the Ferry Street Bridge replacement is nearly complete, the wall/bank stabilization north of Mechanic Street is finished, the Canal has been lined with Bentomat from Mechanic Street to the Aquetong Creek aqueduct, and various stone and concrete wall repairs have been done.

With all these projects finished, it is anticipated that the pump at Centre Bridge will be installed on July 9th and started shortly thereafter to water the section for test purposes. If all goes well, New Hope will have water in August. Now if we could make the cattails miraculously disappear.

And on to our perennial summertime problem. the southern end of the Canal receives its water from the Delaware River through an inlet located behind the former Odette's property in New Hope. In the summer when the River level drops, the level of the Canal drops. If the River level falls below the elevation of the inlet opening, the Canal loses its water supply completely. The Park has been very diligent in keeping the inlet clear of silt and debris, so we are depending on additional rainfall for a full Canal from New Hope to Morrisville. (Of course, we want just the right amount of rain.)

The Canal is being deliberately dewatered south of Route 1 in Morrisville in preparation for the Conrail and Route 13 Tunnel projects, and the Green Lane relining project. The Route 13 project was to have been put out to bid in July, but the schedule most probably has changed because it was combined with PennDOT's larger Route 13 improvement project. The Conrail Tunnel is currently scheduled to be put out to bid in September. A section of the Canal between Airport Road and Green Lane soon will be relined because of leakage that affects the Green Lane roadway. The early dewatering was necessitated by the restrictions concerning disturbance of the habitat of the threatened red-bellied turtles.

A break in a culvert pipe under the canal north of Haines Road in Bristol Township drained the Canal earlier this year and must be repaired while the tunnel projects are underway.

The Borough of Bristol continues to pump water into the Lagoon at Jefferson Avenue to keep the "pond" alive, healthy, and attractive as a local park.

And that's the state of the Canal from north to south. The Friends continue to advocate, nudge, and help move things along.

Thanks to everyone who responded to the Friends' plea to contact their State legislators about reinstating the Keystone Fund to the 2012-2013 State Budget. The Keystone Fund is back in the Budget intact. Please thank your legislators for their support of this vital funding source for State Park improvements.

July 3, 2012

The Lehigh River water has made it south as far as Mulligan's Bridge in Bridgeton Township - 14.4 miles from Easton. The water is flowing, but it doesn't have a lot of push.

June 26, 2012

We've got some water in the north! The gates in Easton have been partially opened allowing Lehigh River water to flow into the Canal. The water has reached Lock 21 in Durham and is working its way southward. The trench through the bank break cannot accommodate a full head of water, so the water levels will be lower than they are supposed to be and will decrease in height as they go south.

Lock 21

Lock 21 in Durham - photo taken by Carole Mebus on June 25, 2012.

June 6, 2012

The trench that will carry Lehigh River water southward past the break in Easton in finished. A huge undertaking! The park is letting a bit of Lehigh River water flow, but the contractors working on I-78 have to install pipes through their canal crossing before the water can really be allowed to flow. Expectations are that significant flow will begin next week.

Easton Trench

May 25, 2012

Progress! The park staff is almost finished digging a trench that will carry Lehigh River water southward past the major break in the canal bank south of Easton. In New Hope the relining is done as is the wall/bank work near Mechanic Street.

May 7, 2012

No trees are being destroyed for the relining project in New Hope.

April 16, 2012
We need rain - slow, steady, and just the right amount. The Delaware River is low, thus the Canal south of Odette's in New Hope, is getting lower because it is supplied with water through an inlet from the Delaware River.

March 14, 2012
The 300,000 daffodil bulbs planted by Bucks Beautiful last fall are blooming. Get out on the towpath and catch them in their glory.

February 28, 2012
FEMA has come and gone. DCNR engineers are working on the flood repair plans and specs in preparation for bidding.

February 17, 2012
The FEMA field assessment CREWS did arrive on February 13th and have been working all week. They should be finished today.

February 7, 2012
The FEMA scout arrived at the Delaware Canal State Park today to assess the task. The field assessment crew will arrive on February 13th to begin what is expected to be a week-long project. Let's hope that the weather cooperates.

February 3, 2012
DCNR has been notified that FEMA representatives will arrive at the Delaware Canal State Park during the week of February 13th to begin the flood damage verification process.

In the Year Ahead
After being punched again and again by weather "events" in 2011, we are all ready to make some progress along the Canal in 2012.

Here is what is happening:

The engineers from DCNR's Bureau of Facility Design and Construction and the Park staff have surveyed the damages caused by the March 2011 flood, Hurricane Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee and have prepared assessments. The engineers have also been working on the repair plans. Fortunately, the task is less laborious this time around because, in some cases, the 2004, 2005, and 2006 flood repair plans can be referenced. Since the repair work may be eligible for FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) funding, DCNR now is waiting for FEMA representatives to tour the Canal and verify the damage assessments. FEMA is expected in January. After the FEMA verifications, plans and specifications will be put out to bid, and, with luck and persistence, the major repair work will be underway in the summer.

The Park staff plans to dig a trench past the river wall break south of Easton in order to supply some Lehigh River water to the northern end of the Canal until the major repair work begins.

DCNR is investigating and instituting specification changes that can make repaired areas endure longer and be more visitor-friendly. One example is the change in specifications for the materials used in the "stabilized turf" towpath trail surface. The new mix will contain smaller diameter stone and more soil, thus creating a more stable towpath with a smoother surface for biking and hiking.

The replacement of the Ferry Street Bridge over the Canal in New Hope got started in December. This project is anticipated to be completed in July. While the bridge project is underway, DCNR will line the Canal from Mechanic Street to the Aquetong Creek aqueduct and repair the wall collapse at the Canal Street development. When the relining and wall projects are done, the Park will pump water into the section to determine whether leakage is still a problem.

The various trail obstruction projects in the southern end of the Canal continue to progress. PennDOT has assumed control of the Route 13 tunnel project because the agency plans to incorporate the replacement of culvert pipes, which carry the Canal's water, with the construction of the tunnel. When the culverts are replaced and the tunnel built, water flow and pedestrian safety will be very much improved. It is anticipated that construction will begin in 2012.

Conditions at the second Route 13 trail obstruction north of Green Lane may also be improved as part of the larger Route 13 project. Plans are in the making to improve conditions for pedestrians who need to cross the highway in order to get back on the towpath. The plan calls for an improved shoulder on Route 13 from the point at which the Canal goes under the highway to Green Lane. At the Green Lane intersection, various signalization and marking solutions will be employed to create a safe passageway for canal visitors.

The construction of the tunnel through the Conrail embankment south of Morrisville is temporarily delayed while additional funding is sought.

With foresight in 2001, the Friends had a towpath trail detour plan developed by Castle Valley Consultants of New Britain. The time has finally come to improve the detour path around the Tyburn Road obstruction. This move to action can be accounted for by the designation of the towpath from Bristol to Morrisville as part of the East Coast Greenway. The Friends have supplied the Castle Valley detour plan to the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, which is seeking major Greenway funding.

Gene Comoss retired as Director of the Bureau of Facility Design and Construction last year. Gene never failed to try to do what was best for the Canal and was an excellent advocate. We shall miss him in Harrisburg, but he promises to remain involved. At the Annual Meeting in November we welcomed the new Director, Alfred Uzokwe. Alfred is already schooled in Canal projects and issues, so he hit the ground running.
And so it goes.


December 5, 2011 -
The reconstruction of the Ferry Street Bridge across the Canal in New Hope began today. The contractor is Loftus Construction, the company that accomplished the rehabilitation of Lock 11. The contract period extends for 240 days, but we're rooting for completion by June - or sooner.

November 18, 2011 -
The crews from Gale Nursery have the 300,000 daffodil bulbs planted. What fast work!

November 9, 2011 -
Workers from Gale Nursery have begun planting daffodil bulbs along the Delaware Canal from Riegelsville to Bristol. The project, spearheaded by Bucks Beautiful, has the goal of planting 300,000 bulbs at congregation areas along the Canal . What a sight it will be next spring. To support the effort, visit the Bucks Beautiful website and find out how to contribute.

November 2, 2011 -
The Canal is being dewatered south of Route 1 in Morrisville in anticipation of the start of construction on the tunnel under Route 13 north of the Levittown Shopping Center next spring. Regulations to protect the threatened red-bellied turtles state that construction cannot take place between May 1 and October when the turtles are nesting and hatching. So the water must be drained now, in order to make the turtles find other, more hospitable habitats than the construction area.

October 11, 2011 -
The wall collapse just north of the Virginia Forrest Recreation Area has been repaired using the stone that washed into the Canal during Tropical Storm Lee. The status of the towpath from Lock 13 (Mountainside Inn) in Point Pleasant to the Virginia Forrest Recreation Area north of Centre Bridge has been upgraded to closed only to bicyclists. The towpath surface in the areas of Lumberville and Devil's Half Acre is still not bikeable.

September 26, 2011 -
Two sinkholes developed in the bottom of the Canal between the Levittown Shopping Center and Haines Road, and the water has drained out of the Canal. The cause of the sinkholes is being investigated, but they may be the result of a culvert collapse.

September 14, 2011 -
The Delaware Canal towpath is closed to visitors from the Forks of the Delaware (Fishladder) in Easton to Wy-Hit-Tuk Park. The towpath from Lock 13 (Mountainside Inn) in Point Pleasant to the Virginia Forrest Recreation Area north of Centre Bridge is also closed.

September 13, 2011 -
The 9-11 Memorial Bench honoring Lorraine Grace Bay was washed away in the Tropical Storm Lee flood. It was located near the towpath north of the Soldiers" Graves in northern section of Washington Crossing Historic Park. The bench is probably not too far away, so if you happen to come upon it, please notify the Friends at 215-862-2021 or

September 12, 2011 -
Here we are post Tropical Storm Lee. The Park staff is currently assessing the damage. From initial field reports, it seems as if Lee primarily piled on to the damage caused by Hurricane Irene. There is at least one major problem. A 50-foot section of River wall collapsed south of the Easton sewage treatment plant, and a huge gravel bar has been deposited in the Canal. Water cannot be run past this area, so there will be no significant amounts of water in the Canal from Easton to New Hope until the repair work is undertaken. This work will have to be put out to bid and completed by an outside contractor, so it will take months.

river bank collapse
gravel bar
September 6, 2011 -
The water level from New Hope south is low because a piece of wood lodged underneath one of the Bowman's Hill waste gates. The Park staff was unable to remove it, and a contractor is coming in with equipment to do the job as the rain allows.

August 30, 2011 -
Here’s the scoop on the post-Irene Canal conditions as we know them from the Park Manager, e-mails from various people, and Susan Taylor's observations.
The crest of the flood was much the same as it was last March. Given the much higher predictions, we are very lucky.

The areas that eroded last March were eroded a bit more this time, but nothing dramatic.

The collapsed wall area just north of the Virginia Forrest Rec Area eroded another 1 to 2 ft., but the bank is still holding. This could change as the River level drops.

Streams that flow directly into the Canal have deposited very large stone and silt bars/dams.

Towpath erosion adjacent to the Bowman’s Hill waste gates is anticipated since the water flow from Pidcock Creek was fierce.

Several properties at Bridge 5, as well as Bridge 5 Lane, in Smithtown were damaged by water that overflowed the Canal.

The Kings Island property that lies to the east of the canal bridge between the Kinsman Company and Applejack’s properties in Point Pleasant was damaged by water that overflowed the Canal.

There are trees, from huge and small, down all along the Canal. So many.

August 26, 2011 -
We're doing our very best "Irene, go out to sea" dance, and hope that you are, too.

In keeping with historical practices and the relatively new Delaware Canal State Park policy and procedure, water will be kept in the Canal during high water events. An already full Canal prevents the destructive scouring that occurs when flood waters rush in and out of the prism. And, in the overall scheme of things, the amount of water that an empty Canal would handle is negligible- much like setting an empty fish tank outside in the rain in hopes of keeping your basement dry.

The exceptions to the "water-in" policy are those areas that are prone to bank overflow, such as Yardley Borough, Smithtown, and Uhlerstown. Those places will be closely monitored, and water levels will be adjusted as necessary.

The Park has increased its staffing for this Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Ten management and maintenance staff will be on duty.

August 23, 2011 -
No reports of earthquake damage - knock on wood!
A sinkhole developed by the bypass at Lock 7 in Yardley. The water level will be dropped in the area while the situation is investigated.

August 22, 2011 -
Flowing water from the north has made it to Lumberville.

August 17, 2011 -
The drop gate at Groundhog Lock is back in place, and water will be flowing again from the north either this afternoon or tomorrow morning.

August 16, 2011 afternoon -
Water will not be flowing south from Easton due to a glitch with the drop gate at Locks 22/23 aka Groundhog Lock aka Theodore Roosevelt Recreation Area. The Park staff will be addressing the problem tomorrow and, with luck, the drop gate will be back in its proper position and water flowing from Easton by the end of the day.

August 16, 2011 -
The tree root ball has been removed from the Bowman's Hill waste gate and the water level in the Canal south of Odette's has been restored.

Water from the north is running through Uhlerstown and there is a good head of water south to Bridge 2 north of Point Pleasant. The Canal south of Bridge 2 isn't filling as quickly as anticipated, given the recent rainfall, and the Park staff is investigating.

August 15, 2011 -
The water level of the Delaware River is no longer a problem. Funny how a deluge can cure that.

The rushing water caused a large tree root ball to become lodged in one of the Bowman's Hill waste gates. The Park staff tried to remove it this morning without success. The water pressure holding it in place is too great.

Unfortunately, the water level in the Canal will have to be dropped temporarily to get the tree out. Fortunately, the River will fill it back up.
(This is another lesson in how important it is to keep the Canal clear of debris. Branches and vegetation thrown in the Canal don't disappear; they just make their way to the next Canal structure and clog things up.)

The second relining project in Uhlerstown was completed last week. Water will be reintroduced soon.

August 3, 2011 -
The level of the Delaware River is again dropping. The River is the primary water source for the Canal south of Odette's in New Hope. As the River level drops, the Canal level drops. Periodic, steady rain is the best remedy.
The second relining project in Uhlerstown is expected to be underway during the week of August 8th.

Blows to the Mid-Section
In spite of the damage caused by the moderate Delaware River flooding in March, the Canal has made some significant progress during the last three months.

The southern section of the Canal, from the river inlet in New Hope to Bristol, has been consistently watered. The levels may rise and fall, but there is water all along that stretch. In fact, water has been streaming out of the inverted siphon pipe that carries the Canal's water underneath the Levittown Shopping Center -- a sight not seen in years and years.

Parts of the towpath south of Easton were severely eroded, but the Canal is still capable of carrying water and is doing so.

In order to keep water in the Canal, the bank blowout in Upper Black Eddy was targeted for immediate repair, and the work was accomplished expeditiously.
The Park staff has been able to accomplish some of the towpath repair work.
The broken bypass pipe at Lock 20 near Kintnersville has been relined. Water can flow again.

When the basic repairs were completed in June, all waste gates were closed and Lehigh River water was allowed to flow south. The water made it all the way past Point Pleasant before chronic leakage problems in Upper Black Eddy and Uhlerstown caused the Park to cut back the flow volume. The water made it miles farther than it did last summer. The Upper Black Eddy problems are being investigated, and the Park has been authorized to purchase more Bentomat liner for Uhlerstown.

Note: It is unrealistic to expect the Delaware Canal to be perfectly water tight, particularly in spots where natural drainage was built into the system. Examples are the drainage ditches that often occur at the bottom of the towpath slope. When these ditches are filled in by unknowing property owners, the water simply pops up somewhere else, usually creating problems.
Excellent news is that savings from the prior major flood repair projects can be used to fund the repairs necessitated by the March flood. Plans are being completed and will be put out to bid by this Fall.

Now comes the BUT. The middle of the Canal continues to suffer for many reasons. The main one is that the Lehigh River water from the north has not been able to make its way to the middle. In past years, water was pumped into the Canal at Centre Bridge to supply the Centre Bridge to New Hope stretch. Not only did the pump break down last year, but there are no funds to operate it even if it were in condition to be put back in place. The Rabbit Run Bridge over the Canal north of New Hope is being replaced, and there is no canal boat ride concession in operation, so there is less urgency about getting water back.
The Devil's Half Acre and Lumberville areas were hit hard by the March flooding. These areas were the last ones to undergo the major flood repairs, and the weather was very dry last summer, thus the stabilized turf towpath surface did not have enough time to compact and grow grass before the next flood hit. The March flood did prove that grass growth is a vital factor in maintaining the integrity of the towpath surface. The areas where grass was not well established suffered in the flood. Devil's Half Acre and Lumberville were among them.

A stone wall collapsed north of Mechanic Street in New Hope. This problem will have to addressed before a head of water can be reintroduced. Then there are the infamous New Hope leaks. Repair work has been done, but there hasn't been enough water to test the repairs.

The Canal is like a boxer who is being punched again and again in his midsection. His head isn't in the best shape, but it's still working, and his legs are even better.

The good news is that the Canal's opponent is pretty puny and can be worn out. In comparison to what the Canal went through after the floods of 2004, 2005, and 2006, its current problems are predominately minor. They can be overcome with perseverance and ingenuity, and those we have and can summon even more.


The Delaware Canal State Park Rangers have made the following postings along the towpath for visitor information and safety. Please call the Park Office at 610-982-5560 for any additional information.

  • Towpath from Easton to Wy-Hit-Tuk Park posted "Warning- Trail CLOSED due to flooding" and "No Trespassing."
  • Towpath from Wy-Hit-Tuk Park to Brown's Terrace posted "Warning - Hazardous Conditions due to flooding. No Bicycles.'"
  • Towpath from the Theodore Roosevelt Recreation Area in Raubsville to Mueller's Stop Gate posted "Warning - Hazardous Conditions due to flooding. No Bicycles."
  • Towpath from Lock 13 (Mountainside Inn) in Point Pleasant to the Virginia Forrest Recreation Area north of Centre Bridge posted "Warning - Hazardous Conditions due to flooding. No Bicycles."

Delaware Canal State Park Manager's Report
March 28 - NEWS! For the first time in many years, the Canal has a full head of water from New Hope to Bristol!

On March 7th we experienced a high-water event from a significant amount of rain the previous day. The river reached flood stage and overtopped into the Canal in several locations from north of Centre Bridge to Easton. On March 11th, the River flooded again. This time the crest level was significantly higher and the river also overtopped the Canal south of New Hope this time. The good news is that there is nowhere near the damage that we had in 2004, 2005, 2006, however there are a couple of sections of the towpath that are closed due to either breach or severe washout. The most notable are a breach in Bridgeton Township, a wall collapse in the Waterworks in New Hope, and a wall collapse at Lock 12 in Lumberville. The water level made it up to the door handle on the comfort station at the Teddy Roosevelt Recreation Area, and the Fish Ladder in Easton was totally inundated.

Here is the list of damages:

  • Easton Fish Ladder viewing well/chamber completely flooded.
  • Damage to the towpath trail surface and canal slope between Easton and Wy-Hit-Tuk Park. Trail surface eroded to base material.
  • Eastern miter gate on Sewer Treatment Plant stop gate has broken free and dislodged from its hinge pin position.
  • Damage to trail surface From Wy-Hit-Tuk Park to Brown's Terrace..
  • Damage to towpath trail surface and canal slope south from the Theodore Roosevelt Recreation Area to Mueller's Stop Gate. .
  • Debris on overflow north of Rocky Falls (Mueller's). Erosion. .
  • Slope sloughing south of Lock 20 at the Nockamixon Cliffs.
  • Significant break in the towpath embankment south of Mulligan's Bridge in Upper Black Eddy. (This break is inland.)
  • Damage to trail surface from the Mountainside Inn in Point Pleasant to the Virginia Forrest Recreation Area.
  • Significant washout at Devil's Half Acre between Point Pleasant and Lumberville. .
  • Towpath washout behind Black Bass Hotel/pedestrian bridge.
  • The berm-side wall of Lock 12 in Lumberville collapsed.
  • Approximately 1/4 mile of towpath surface washout near Green Hill Road.
  • Towpath washout just south of Delaware Quarry.
  • Overflow south of Delaware Quarry covered with debris.
  • River wall and towpath damage north of the Virginia Forrest Recreation Area.
  • Overwashing of trail surface from Odette's in New Hope south to Bowman's Hill. DAMAGE HAS BEEN REPAIRED; TOWPATH IS OPEN.
  • Towpath eroded at the Bowman's Hill waste gates. DAMAGE HAS BEEN REPAIRED; TOWPATH IS OPEN

Damage assessment continues and repair specifications are being prepared.

June 8, 2011 – The bank break repair in Upper Black Eddy is nearly finished.

Towpath wash-out at Devil's Half Acre south of Point Pleasant. 3/13/2011

Lock 12 looking north
Looking north from Lock 12 in Lumberville - 3/13/2011.
Photo by Sally Getchell.

Towpath washout south of Easton - 3/13/2011. Photo by Carole Mebus.

Towpath still underwater north of Mueller’s in Raubsville - 3/13/2011.
Photo by Carole Mebus.

The towpath north of Mueller’s in the midst of the flood - 3/12/2011 at 5 p.m. Photo by Carole Mebus.

The towpath bank break south of Mulligan’s Bridge, Upper Black Eddy - 3/12/2011. Photo by Peter Rosswaag.

The bridge over the short aqueduct at Fry’s Run, Easton - 3/11/2011.
Photo by Carole Mebus.

Looking north from the aqueduct at Fry’s Run, Easton - 3/11/2011.
Photo by Carol Mebus.

The Theodore Roosevelt Recreation Area between Raubsville and
Riegelsville under water - 3/11/2011. Photo by Carol Mebus.


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