Lift Bridge Open Extra Week


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Mar 1, 2017
The Beach Strip
News from around the lake-shipping season extended one more week

Welland Canal to remain open until January
St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. running pilot program

News 12:00 AM by Nathaniel Johnson The Welland Tribune

St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. will extend the shipping season on the canal this year in a pilot program. - Dave Johnson , Torstar

Niagara residents can expect bridges over the Welland Canal to stay up into the new year as St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. extends its 2019 shipping season.

It's part of a pilot program that will see the 43-kilometre-long link between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario stay open until noon Wednesday, Jan. 8, said seaway spokesman Andrew Bogora.

"What we're looking at is a situation where some domestic carriers have opportunities to move cargoes between lakes Erie and Ontario and points beyond," he said.

Under the pilot program, vessels wanting to transit the eight-lock canal after 11:59 p.m. Boxing Day must enter into a written agreement with the seaway corporation.

Bogora said the extension is subject to conditions, mainly weather.

"It's very unlikely any ocean-going vessels will take advantage of this. they have to be clear of the Montreal-Lake Ontario section by Dec. 31."

As of midnight Dec. 12, the number of ocean-going vessels above St. Lambert, Que., was 40, as compared to 50 in 2018. Above Port Weller, the number was 20 compared to 27 in 2018.

Once the season winds down, Bogora said, the seaway corporation will review the pilot program and what was accomplished.

He said it's too early to contemplate when the seaway will open for the 2020 shipping season.

The 3,700-km-long seaway system — it stretches from the mouth of the St. Lawrence River to the western shores of Lake Superior — typically opens near the end of March once the Great Lakes thaw.
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