Spring '08

From the President

By David G. Barber

A theme I have been pushing in these pages and elsewhere is that of canal restoration. Part of that, naturally, is a question of whom. Or more precisely, who either engineering firms or contractors has any experience in the restoration of canal locks and other structures? Some time ago, I was asked this question by people in New Breman, OH. They went on to rebuild Miami and Erie Canal Lock 1 North, which is in the middle of the downtown. Very recently, I was asked the same question by someone involved with planning the restoration of Morris Canal Lock 2E in Wharton, New Jersey. The need is for people who have some experience so old lessons do not have to be relearned.

The question was given further depth by David Beebe and his group at Camillus, NY, who are working to restore the Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct. In addition to the hurdles of what to do, funding, and historical accuracy, they have learned the need for specifications that answer all of the contractors’ questions. While on many normal projects, the contractor can fill in “blanks” with his experience. On canal restoration work, the available contractors and engineers do not have experience. So, they either decline to bid or bid high to cover their unknowns.

Many people in the canal community do have knowledge about canal structures which we are willing to share. But, we do not have the staff and bonding ability to take on an engineering or general contractor contract.

To help address this question without having to search my memory on receipt of a cold phone call, I’ve added a page to the web site of such information. So far, I’ve listed fifteen projects, but have yet to add the names of engineering firms or contractors. I intend to add those as I do further research. I do not intend to endorse anyone, but the “who” of such projects is public information. Any group financing such projects will have to do their own qualifications research. My only goal is to provide starting points at an easily accessed location.

Please look at the list on our web site. I would very much like to hear of projects, engineers, and contractors to add.

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