Dismal Swamp Canal to close temporarily for repairs
Sailboats travel along the Dismal Swamp Canal in South Mills, N.C., as they approach the South Mills Lock. The canal will close Feb. 7-11, as repairs are made to steel supports at the South Mills and Deep Creek, Chesapeake, Va., locks.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- America's oldest continually operating canal, the Dismal Swamp Canal, will be closed to boaters temporarily Feb. 7-11, as repairs are made to steel supports at the Deep Creek and South Mills Locks.

The needed repairs were identified in November 2010 during an annual inspection of the facilities at which time it was determined that the items could be addressed during the off-peak usage season.

"This will have little to no impact on the majority of boaters because typically February is one of our slowest months" said Joel Scussel, the Norfolk District's Dismal Swamp Canal project manager.

Four sections of steel, measuring four-feet-long each will be replaced during the shutdown. The steel supports, some of which have been in place since 1941, hold the gate motors in place and have deteriorated over time due to exposure to the elements.

"The steel is located under the control houses of each lock gate, very near the water so deterioration is to be expected," said Scussel.

Mariners traversing the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway during the shutdown will still be able to use the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal to reach their destinations to points north or south. Boaters can call the Great Bridge Lock at 757-547-3311 to check the current status of the canals.

Construction on the Dismal Swamp Canal, which was dug by hand, began in 1793 and was completed in 1802, according to the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center. Today, the canal is a Historical Landmark in the National Register of Historic Places. Visit http://www.dismalswamp.com/ for more information on the Dismal Swamp Canal.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16