Posted at: 05/23/2012 5:25 PM
| Updated at: 05/23/2012 9:26 PM
By: Bill Lambdin
WATERFORD - Passengers like David Beton from Manchester, England weren't even aware that the ship that is their home for the next two weeks was trapped in the same Erie Canal just eight months before.
"Well, I'm with friends and they are very keen travelers and this is one that they had earmarked for a long time," Beton said.
The Waterford Flight of Five locks remained in operation, but farther west, the Erie Canal was closed from Schenectady to Little Falls as surging water from the Schoharie and the Mohawk caused huge, unexpected damage.
At the decree of the Governor, emergency repairs were undertaken.
"This is a waterway like no other," said canal Executive Director Brian U. Stratton. "The Erie Canal is what made New York State what it is today. "
The Erie Canal produces almost no direct revenue.
Tolls from the New York State heavily subsidize the operation.
Director Stratton says the canal is responsible for 380 million dollars in yearly tourist related spending.
Passenger Beton took a self-guided tour of Troy during a stop earlier Wednesday in the Collar City. "We went round Troy but we went on our own because we went straight to the Episcopal Church and had a look at it."
Stratton wasn't specific when we asked about the overall status of canal repairs.
"Well, we were able to get the large part of the mechanical operation of the canal completed when the system reopened. There will be ongoing projects to restore some of the lock houses and the landscaping and the infrastructure."
Stratton estimated storm-related repairs would cost about 50 million dollars.
He hopes most of that will be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).