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Dismal Swamp Canal to reopen to vessel traffic following damage from Hurricane Matthew

NORFOLK, Va. – The Dismal Swamp Canal is set to reopen to vessel traffic at the end of September.

The Lake Drummond Reservation and Feeder Ditch will be open to canoes and kayaks on August 18.

Crews will continue to dredge the canal, which was closed due to extensive damage from Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.

“In the history of the canal, we’ve never had this issue, and we’re using every available resource to make the canal safe again for vessels,” said Joel Scussel, Norfolk District Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway project manager.

Engineers completed a survey of the canal in March, after crews cleared more than 350 trees from the canal.

Another survey taken in July revealed controlling depths of less than the normal six feet. Wilmington District’s Dredge Murdern completed dredging in the Deep Creek Channel on June 21.  The channel was reopened to navigation after dredge surveys showed a controlling depth of six feet.

Engineers are working on a design for emergency generators for the Deep Creek and South Mills Locks, which were inoperable after the hurricane.

Deep Creek Lock Gate rehabilitation work, which was scheduled before Hurricane Matthew struck, is complete. Gates were reinstalled on July 19 and operating the next day.

Officials aimed to reopen the waterway before October, when perennial “snowbirds” use the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway to travel south.

“Since the hurricane, our goal has been to reopen the canal to navigation as soon as possible,” Scussel said.