For Immediate Release: 10/09/18

WHITE PLAINS—The New York State Canal Corporation Board of Directors has approved a $5.9 million contract to rehabilitate the century-old East Guard Lock, which stands at the intersection of the Erie Canal and Genesee River in Rochester.

The board approved the contract at its Oct. 2 meeting.

"The East Guard Lock is a well-known landmark on the Erie Canal in Rochester and ensuring its upkeep is a top priority," said Brian U. Stratton, New York State Canal Corporation director. "The lock has reliably served to control water levels in the area for a century, and this project will ensure it will continue to do so for another 100 years, allowing the Canal to remain a center of recreation and tourism in the area."

The contract was awarded to Cold Spring Construction of Akron, N.Y. following a competitive bidding process.

The east and west guard locks were originally built to allow for navigation across the Genesee River during the navigation season in a wide range of elevations without affecting water levels in the Erie Canal to the west and east of the Genesee River.

A vessel would enter the chamber of the guard lock, and a drop gate would close behind it. After water levels equalized, the drop gate at the other end of the chamber would open, allowing the boat to proceed. Construction of the Mount Morris Dam between 1948 and 1952 led to more stability of Genesee River water levels and obviated the use of these structures as locks. The West Guard Lock was previously modified to have a single operating drop gate, transforming the structure into more of a guard gate. East Guard Lock will undergo the same modification as part of this project.

The East Guard Lock continues to perform a vital function on the current Canal System, allowing for the de-watering of the Erie Canal in the fall and winter and protecting the Canal from water-level fluctuations on the river all year.

Construction will include concrete replacement, structural steel repairs, railing replacement, electrical and mechanical rehabilitation, painting, lock house rehabilitation, storage building rehabilitation, a new septic tank, new stairs, an emergency boat launch and other miscellaneous work. A new gate bottom seal also will be installed at West Guard Lock.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of November 2019.

The East Guard Lock was built between 1908 and 1918 as part of the construction of the Barge Canal, which is now known as the New York State Canal System.

For more information on the Canal System, visit

About the New York State Canal Corporation

New York's canal system includes four historic canals: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca. Spanning 524 miles, the waterway links the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain. The canals form the backbone of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and connect hundreds of unique and historic communities. In 2018, New York is celebrating the bicentennial of the start of the Erie Canal's construction.

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Steven Gosset
Media Relations
(914) 390-8192