Workers are shoring up the remains of the aqueduct at Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site in Fort Hunter, Montgomery County, NY.
With the water in the Erie Canal drawn down for the winter, the project is well into the construction phase. Workers are creating a large concrete wedge at the end of the piers and arches to act as a brace, so the arches won’t shift. Protections are being added around the base to prevent problems as the water rises in the spring.
Construction on this marvel of engineering began in 1839. After many delays, it opened in 1845 and would eventually carry the Erie Canal 624 feet, 14 arches, over the creek. It served the state until 1916.
It was one of dozens of aqueducts used along the canal between Buffalo and Albany where barges would glide above within the wooden trough. Over time, however, water and ice jams weakened it. Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site manager Paul Banks expects this stabilization effort will finish by this summer.
After the stabilization of the remaining aqueduct is complete, organizers are hoping to add signage and safety barriers to allow visions to go out onto the structure. A pedestrian bridge extension from the aqueduct to the east bank of Schoharie Creek, would be a third phase of the overall project.
The Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site is the only location where all three phases of New York’s Canals can be seen at once. In addition to the Schoharie Aqueduct, the only two remaining locks of the original Erie Canal can be found at Schoharie Crossing, as well as three enlarged canal locks and one Barge Canal lock.
Photo of work at Schoharie Crossing aqueduct provided by New York State Parks.