Canal takes huge hit from Irene
Special to the TIMES NEWS This is a sample of the damage caused at the Walnutport Canal due to the impact of Hurricane Irene.
Count the Walnutport Canal among the landmarks to have sustained extensive damage as a result of Hurricane Irene.
Specifically, there was major damage caused to the fall gate at Lock 23, according to Everett Kaul, president of the Walnutport Canal Association.
"Lock 23 collapsed under the weight of all the water that was going over, it probably had a leak underneath and washed some of the fill out and then the cement that was on top and the fall gate that was right with it," Kaul said. "It's all laying there, it's a mess."
As for the canal itself, Everett said it's submerged with silt from the remnants of the storm.
"About a half mile above the borough there's a small stream that enters the canal, it carries a lot of silt into the canal, and is completely blocked," he said. "It's six feet deep, and it has six feet of silt in it; luckily, the towpath held and it didn't come out of there."
In addition, below Lock 23, there was a bypass that could take water from one level to another, all the way down at the end of the canal property, where there used to be an aqueduct across Birch Street, where the middle pier has collapsed, Kaul said.
Kaul said there are also four large trees down laying in the canal that should be removed as well.
"Lock 23 was rebuilt, but none of that work has been damaged; just the fall gate at the north end of the lock," he said. "All the ground that was piled up behind that fall gate is now laying in our lock, and that should be removed also."
Kaul said Northampton County, as well as the borough emergency coordinator, were expected to stop by the site today to look at the damage that was done.
"Julie Harhart, Charlie Dent and Dave Argall are aware of the situation," he said. "We told them we knew money was tight all over, but if there was any FEMA money available, we'd like our share."