New York State Canal Corporation announced that the contract for a new hydraulic cutter-head dredge has been awarded to Ellicott Dredges of Baltimore, Md.
The acquisition of the new dredge is a part of the Canal Corporation's ongoing effort to upgrade its fleet and increase its dredging capacity, while complying with environmental regulations.
The new dredge will be stationed in Utica, NY and will replace a 1927 DeLaVergne. The new dredge will have double the horsepower of existing dredge, which is aimed to provide less down-time for repairs and maintenance. Delivery is scheduled for May 24, 2006. The newest dredge in the Canal Corporation's fleet is currently a 1980 Ellicott based in Waterford, NY.
With that exception, the remainder of the existing fleet is comprised of dredges of the 1920s or 1930s vintage. The Canal Corporation will continue to pursue upgrades of its dredging fleet. Plans are underway for a hydraulic off-loader in the fall of 2006. This equipment would allow dredge spoil to be pumped as slurry into hopper barges, which would then be transported to disposal sites and pumped upland hydraulically. Unlike other inland waterways throughout the country, maintenance responsibility for the canal system falls on the State of New York, rather than the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Part of the Canal System, from Waterford to Oswego, is a federally improved project, through maintenance of the channel is not federally funded. The project depth for the federally improved portion of the waterway is 14 ft. (13 ft. over sills) and 12 ft. elsewhere. The Canal Corporation estimates
a backlog of more than10 million cubic yards of sediment which requires removal in order to restore the Canal channels to those depths.