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Contact: Matt Graves, 301-582-0813Williamsport, MD – The National Park Service (NPS), Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) awarded an $8,997,112 contract for the restoration of the Conococheague Aqueduct to Corman Construction, Inc. of Annapolis Junction, MD on June 5, 2017. The next phase of the restoration project for the entire Williamsport interpretive complex will return the Conococheague Aqueduct to its 1920s appearance and create the first watered, operational aqueduct along the C&O Canal since 1924. During construction, visitors will be directed to follow a detour route around the Conococheague Aqueduct located near Williamsport, Maryland between milepost 99.75 - 99.60.
Construction is anticipated to begin in late July 2017 and extend approximately 18 months, weather dependent, until December 2018. During this time visitors will be unable to travel over the aqueduct and through the construction area and will be directed onto a 1.1 mile long detour route around the Conococheague Aqueduct. The upstream end of the detour departs from the towpath near milepost 99.75, travels along Fenton Avenue, an alleyway, state Route 68, and U.S. Route 11 until rejoining the towpath near milepost 99.60 (directly adjacent to the Cushwa Basin). Prior to closure of the towpath, signage will be posted to clearly mark the detour route.
The Conococheague Aqueduct is one of eleven aqueducts on the 184.5 miles of the C&O Canal and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Over 97 years ago, in April of 1920, the upstream wall of the Conococheague Aqueduct gave way, crumbling into the creek below. The C&O Canal Company temporarily repaired the aqueduct with a wooden wall, but the canal only operated for three more seasons before being closed in the spring of 1924.
The project will restore the aqueduct to its appearance in the early 1920s, with a new upstream wall designed to appear as the wooden temporary replacement wall. More importantly, the aqueduct will be restored to the condition where it can once again hold water, the first C&O Canal aqueduct to be restored to full operation. When complete, Williamsport, Maryland will be the only place in North America where visitors can ride boats across an aqueduct and through a working canal lock.
For more information about the project and the park, call 301-582-0813.
For more information, please visit www.nps.gov/choh. Follow us on Facebook at chesapeakeandohiocanal and on Twitter @COcanalNPS