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March 27, 2014

Flight of Five opening may be delayed

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal —

A winter with seemingly never-ending cold temperatures may lead to a delay in the planned July opening of two of the Flight of Five historic Erie Canal locks.

But, the Lockport Locks Heritage District Committee is hopeful that opening can still happen in July, according to Chairman David R. Kinyon.

The Flight of Five are a parallel set of five locks on the south side of the Erie Canal that was torn out about 100 years ago and replaced with larger, current locks E34 and E35. The picturesque remnants on the north side have served as a spillway and garbage collector for the modern locks ever since.

Two of the five, locks 69 and 70, are being restored. 

The issue has been the cold preventing Hohl Industrial Services of Tonawanda, the project contractor, from pouring concrete and affecting the firm's ability to lay stone in the grouting. The stone can't be laid when the temperature is below freezing or if the canal is filled with water.

And that's happening sometime around April 15, Kinyon said.

Hohl did present a plan to the committee on how to continue with the extended schedule, Kinyon said. According to that, it's expected the flooring of the locks and the lock gates installed before the canal is filled. Other work, such as the masonry and railings, will be done afterwards.

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