NORFOLK, Va. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have announced a goal of opening the Dismal Swamp Canal to its full 6-foot depth by the end of the summer.
The canal was closed due to extensive damage caused by Hurricane Matthew in October. Since then, there has been ongoing tree and debris removal, and investigations of shoaling at many locations.
Shoaling has reduced to canal to a depth as little as 1 foot in some areas.
Norfolk District engineers are using recent surveys to plot 22 miles of the canal and the 3 miles of the Feeder Ditch to Lake Drummond. That data will then be used to check for additional shoals and obstructions.
Crews are currently dredging the canal at the Feeder Ditch and then will move to Turners Cut, south of the South Mills lock. The Norfolk District is also working with the Wilmington District to remove a small shoal in the Deep Creek Channel.
The work at the Feeder Ditch is expected to take the longest, with the work expected to be complete by mid-June.
After the canal repairs are complete, engineers will evaluate whether to open to canal at a restricted depth until the 6-foot depth is achieved.
At Lake Drummond Reservation and the Feeder Ditch, crews have repaired damaged buildings. Additional work at Lake Drummond Reservation included repairs on the floating docks, roadway washout and the boat tram, which will be scheduled this winter.
Work on the Deep Creek Locks gates, which was scheduled before the storm, is progressing. Work on replacing the water control valves and deteriorated steel is ongoing and will be completed within the next week. Final work and painting will then be done and the gates will be placed back into the lock in June.