Repair Watered Structures Locks 5-22 Project
The National Park Service (NPS) and the C&O Canal awarded a $6,769,018 contract for this project to Corman Construction, Inc. of Annapolis Junction, MD on September 18, 2017.
This project consists of work at the following areas in the Palisades District of the C&O Canal: Swains Lock (MP 16.9 Breach), Great Falls Tavern (Level #20 and Lock #19), Olmsted Island (Lock #18 and Lock #17), Carderock (Culvert #15), Lock #10 (Rock Run Culvert) and Level #7. During construction, visitors will be directed to follow local detours around the work areas.
A towpath detour is in effect in the Great Falls area starting 1/29/2018. The area from the top of Lock 20 to the Washington Aqueduct (around the wasteweir) will be closed. All visitors will need to take a detour in this area. Visitors will be able to cross at the swing bridge at Lock 20 and at the Lock 19 bridges to go downstream. To go upstream, there is an earthen causeway near the parking lot for bikes and pedestrians to cross.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What is the need for the project?
This project will improve several locks, waste weirs, bridges and other water control structures within one of the most popular segments of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal) in Montgomery County, MD. These improvements will help preserve the park’s historic structures, allow them to withstand impacts from flooding, and make them easier to maintain.
What does the project include?
This project consists of work in the vicinity of the following areas of the C&O Canal: Swains Lock (MP 16.9 Breach), Great Falls Tavern (Level #20 and Lock #19), Olmsted Island (Lock #18 and Lock #17), Carderock (Culvert #15), Lock #10 (Rock Run Culvert) and Level #7. Specifically, this includes installing emergency spillways (fuse plugs), installing a liner system in various parts of the canal, replacing existing bridges and wasteweirs, repointing lock walls, replacing lock gates, and rebuilding dry laid stone walls.
When will the project begin and end?
Construction staging and work will begin in early-December 2017 and last for approximately 500 days (spring 2019, weather dependent). During the work, local detours will guide the public around each of the eight work areas which are intermittently located between mileposts 5 - 16.9 of the C&O Canal. The National Park Service is doing everything possible to minimize closure time and impacts to visitors. Generally, construction will occur Monday - Friday, between the hours of 7AM-5PM.
Why is it necessary to close sections of the towpath during the project?
The Park is committed to keeping as much of the towpath open as possible. Small sections of the towpath may be closed intermittently in order to provide a safe work site for construction. Visitors will be able to travel around the construction sites using detours directly adjacent to the closed sections of the towpath at each of the eight work areas.
How will this project impact park visitors?
Visitors will still be able to enjoy the Park! All of the hiking trails at Great Falls will remain open, and towpath detours will be kept to a minimum. Visitors will be able to travel around the construction sites using detours directly adjacent to the closed sections of the towpath at each of the eight work areas. The Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center will remain open and seasonal interpretive programs will continue. The mule-drawn canal boat will return in Summer 2019. A portion of the parking area at Great Falls will be unavailable to the public for the duration of the project while the contractor uses it for construction equipment and materials. Generally, construction will occur Monday - Friday, between the hours of 7AM-5PM.
Where are the towpath detours?
Towpath detours will be located at each of the following areas of the C&O Canal: Swains Lock (MP 16.9 Breach), Great Falls Tavern (Level #20 and Lock #19), Olmsted Island (Lock #18 and Lock #17), Carderock (Culvert #15), Lock #10 (Rock Run Culvert) and Level #7. During construction, visitors will be directed to follow local detours around the work areas. For project updates, please refer to the C&O Canal NHP website (www.nps.gov/choh).
How will this project benefit park visitors?
These improvements will stabilize the historic structures, provide for greater control over canal water level operations, and result in more resilient infrastructure during floods. These repairs will also help preserve significant historic resources, as well as the experience of a watered canal for visitors to enjoy into the future.
Why is it necessary to dewater the canal? Will it remain dewatered during the entire project?
It will be necessary to dewater portions of the canal at various times during the project to facilitate safer and drier working conditions within the construction areas. Since much of the construction work is within or in close proximity to the canal prism, these conditions will provide safety for the workers and more efficient execution of the construction.
How will this project impact natural and cultural resources?
The project helps protect significant cultural resources by rehabilitating and stabilizing various features throughout this reach of the canal. Park staff will work to minimize impacts to fish and other aquatic species and the stream/river environments.
What is the park doing to protect those resources during the project?
Throughout the project, National Park Service (NPS) resource protection experts and NPS managers will monitor the contractor's use of environmental protection methods to ensure the protection of these unique cultural resources and the environment surrounding them. Every project the NPS undertakes is conducted in compliance with the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and other regulations
How much does the project cost?
The project repairs cost $6,769,018. The funding comes from the line item construction budget of the National Park Service. Some of the repairs originally included in this contract were not awarded due to funding limitations.
Who can I contact if I have further questions or concerns regarding the project?
Additional questions are to be directed to the park’s Public Information Officer, Catherine Bragaw, at 301-491-6265.
Last updated: February 1, 2018