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.
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.
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.
November 18, 2013
It's official! The Route 13 passageways in Levittown are open for business. Go well and safely, Canal visitors.
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.
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.
October 21, 2013
Tri-State at work restoring the towpath between Fry's Run and Mueller's Store.
It's a tight space.
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.
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.
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.
August 5, 2013
Tri-State Dredging is repairing flood damage in the vicinity of the sewer treatment plant 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.
July 22, 2013
Tri-State Dredging is building the access way into the site of the major bank break south of Easton.
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.
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.
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.
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 www.fodc.org - 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.
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.
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.
If you are interested in being a part of the Canal Action Team, please call 215-862-2021 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
March 14, 2012
February 28, 2012
February 17, 2012
February 7, 2012
February 3, 2012
In the Year Ahead
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.
December 5, 2011 -
November 18, 2011 -
November 9, 2011 -
November 2, 2011 -
October 11, 2011 -
September 26, 2011 -
September 14, 2011 -
September 13, 2011 -
September 12, 2011 -
August 30, 2011 -
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 -
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 -
August 22, 2011 -
August 17, 2011 -
August 16, 2011 afternoon -
August 16, 2011 -
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 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.
The second relining project in Uhlerstown was completed last week. Water will be reintroduced soon.
August 3, 2011 -
Blows to the Mid-Section
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.
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.
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.
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.
Delaware Canal State Park Manager's Report
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:
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