Erie Canal Bridge lock broken, stranding boaters

Herkimer County

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WUTR) — It is almost Memorial Weekend and many boaters have started their voyage. But after unforeseen circumstances, they might be barbequing in Little Falls.

It has been almost a week since the lower gate on Lock E-17 on the Erie Barge Canal in Herkimer County has been broken, causing boaters to be stranded. Canal workers are using a crane to help them try to get the lock open.

Robert Bourgueignon, a boater who is from Syracuse, was taking his boat to Syracuse and said the experience has not been all bad. “The town is great,” he said. “They brought water and stuff over. Anything we needed, they were more than happy to address it. They have been super, and the lock too, the lock canal system has been great also.”

“Every boater’s been broken down before so having a delay or something is nothing new,” said Eric Schneider, another boater from Syracuse. “Having a hundred-and-some-year-old lock is new, but you know, I’m sure they’re doing everything they can. And we wait for good news.”

Schneider was heading for Clayton on the St. Lawrence River. “You meet people up and all the way down the dock. Everybody’s great. It is just a story you’ll have to tell,” he said. “It would be great to have a Memorial Day that’s not under a bridge, but there’s nothing you can do. So we just wait.”

It may not be the Memorial Weekend they had planned but the experience is one to tell. “Most of us would be spending Memorial Day on our boats anyway,” Bourgueignon added.

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