Lehighton Water Authority approved to replace coffer dam in the Lehigh Canal
A coffer dam that has been missing from Lehigh Canal at Long Run since a high water event in the mid-1990s will be replaced, according Armand Galasso of the Lehighton Water Authority.
During a meeting of the Lehigh Canal Recreation Commission held Thursday at the Lehigh Canal at Weissport, Galasso presented a photo from 1985 which showed the coffer dam was originally located in the middle of the Lehigh Canal at Long Run. Galasso said it was put there to stop flooding downstream into Weissport from the Lehigh River.
Galasso said he had gotten permission to put the dam back in from the Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP permit will be good for five years.
The berm from the coffer dam would also protect the Lehighton Water Authority water main and save the water main from future destruction. Galasso said LWA used 400 tons of stone to stabilize the towpath since the flooding in March.
"We've also made repairs to the towpath 200 feet north of the break to save 80 feet of the water main where the break had occurred and 400 feet downstream to stabilize the towpath to stop the Lehigh River from coming into the canal.
"If there is another high water event after the coffer dam is replaced, the best scenario will be that only the top layer of the towpath will come off," said Galasso.
Scott Everett from the Delaware and Lehigh National Corridor Commission said that he will order 124 tons of materials for the LWA to use to make repairs. Everett said that the grasses are catching on the retaining wall and will help stabilize the area.
Doug Makofka of the Trail Tenders said that a cleanup will be held beginning at 8:30 today. Volunteers should meet at the Weissport trail head and bring gloves and water. Anyone interested is encouraged to email Makofka at email@example.com.