Dismal Swamp Canal closes after extensive damage from Hurricane Matthew

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Snow and sleet along the Dismal Swamp Canal

Snow and sleet along the Dismal Swamp Canal

NORFOLK, Va. – Officials at the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have announced that the Dismal Swamp Canal will be closed indefinitely.

The canal was closed because of extensive damage from Hurricane Matthew in October.

It requires dredging, debris and tree removal, and an investigation into reports of shoaling at various locations in the canal.

The Norfolk District derrick boat Elizabeth has been working since October to clear debris from the waterway.

The canal must be clear for engineers to perform a survey and assess the shoaling.

The storm also damaged Lake Drummond Reservation facilities, which are also closed and need repairs.

District officials have requested federal funds to assist with storm-related work.

Previously scheduled work to refurbish the Deep Creek Lock river gates will begin in the first week of January and will last 75 days.

The gate work is regularly scheduled maintenance and occurs about every 15 years. During gate refurbishment, the crew of the Elizabeth will continue to remove debris from the canal.

Vessels using the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway during the closure may use the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal. The controlling depth of the canal is 12 feet. The lock and bridge have operating staff on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The North Landing Bridge on the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal opens every hour and half-hour, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. On-demand openings are provided for commercial traffic as needed.

Private vessels traveling after 7 p.m. can contact North Landing Bridge operators at 757-482-3081, and will monitor marine radio channel 13.

The Dismal Swamp Canal was completed in 1805 and is the oldest continually operating, hand-dug waterway in the United States. It is part of the Intracoastal Waterway connecting the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia with the Albemarle Sound in North Carolina.