This is the part of the canal that is raising city concerns and has the city ready to make repairs. But will issues in Washington get in the way of this work?
David Westin is a regular on the Augusta Canal walking hundreds of miles a year. He says if repairs are needed, the city needs to get to work
“Right now is a good time, there’s not many people here, it’s too cold for them. I don’t mind the cold,” said Westin.
The city is planning to fix what’s called a long term problem on this part of the canal bank.
“We’ve been monitoring some seepage that’s been coming through the canal bank for years now. It’s come to the point where we’re actually going to repair that,” said Utilities Department Director Tom Wiedmeier.
The city wants to the work done by the middle of March. Heavy equipment will likely close this section of the canal path for a few weeks.
And the canal will be drained, that’s scheduled to start next week.
The Canal cruise boats run 5 days a week in the winter, but not if the water’s gone.
“We want them to minimize the downtime as much as possible, recognizing these types of things you’ve got to do them periodically,” said Canal Authority Executive Director Dayton Sherrouse.
The city is in the process of licensing the canal. That means it is working with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC.
“We still work closely with FERC so they monitor all activity on the canal and we have to get their approval do to a lot or these things,” said Wiedmeier.
FERC inspectors will be required to to monitor the canal repair but there is a government shutdown now with no end in sight.,
“Yeah they might not be available to do it so that could impact our schedule,” said Wiedmeier.
So if the shut down does delay this project what does it mean for the work? Well Wiedmeier says there is no real emergency, if they can’t get it done this spring, this work will just be pushed off until next year.