Boaters traveling along the Erie Canal in Little Falls were faced with a roadblock on May 22nd. One of the gears that opens and closes the lock door broke, so these travelers had to dock their boats along this wall and wait. Syracuse native Robert Bourguignon says it all part of boating.
"I went to Florida and waited there all winter. I was sitting in Waterford for 2 weeks waiting for the locks to open up, so that’s what you do on a boat. You wait."
Inconvenienced yes, but Baldwinsville Resident Eric Schneider said the boaters made the best of the time they had.
"Everybody along the wall is extremely friendly. I got to know a few new people. That’s what boating’s all about anyway, so we’re good to go."
A giant crane has been brought in to open and close the lock door, so boaters can now continue their travels, but while they were stuck in Little Falls, they were welcomed with open arms. Minnesota Resident Bob Jansen talked about the hospitality they were given.
"They brought us water, they brought us a truck to pump out, and you know they put on a barb-e-que up at the rotary club for us with beer and burgers, brats. It was great."
The mayor even showed up to provide rides into town and back. The crane operated by Frankfort company Rig All will be used to lift the gate up, allowing boaters to pass through the canal, but it will only be used as a temporary fix. New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton explains what’s being done to fix the problem.
"This crane will be on site through about Wednesday. We will have another crane come in, and probably about mid-week next week we’re going to stop traffic again for an unspecified period."
In the meantime the giant gear that opens the door will be have to be fabricated or fixed and tested. The Canal Corporation is working to getting all the backed up traffic cleared out by Memorial Day.