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Aqueduct project gains momentum

Bids were recently opened for restoration of the Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct.

Dr. David Beebe, director of Camillus Erie Canal Park,said although this is "good news," he would not release the name of the successful bidder who will perform the work until it is approved by several state agencies and the Camillus Town Board.

Beebe said there were four bidders, two of whom came in under the $2 million the project is expected to cost. He said most of the money has been raised through an array of

grants as well as more than $100,000 in private donations.

Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct was built in 1844 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The idea of restoring the structure dates back to 1972 when the park was formed.

"The towpath part of the structure has four arches of 30 feet each. The structure was built of stone joined by a marine cement that was relatively new at the time, but An

aqueduct is a water-filled bridge that carries canal boats over rivers, streams or valleys.

"It provided a way for the first enlargement of the Erie Canal to be carried over Nine Mile Creek. This 144 foot waterway is listed as the smallest of the larger aqueducts.

Four stone arches made of fine Onondaga limestone quarried form Split Rock supported the towpath. When restoration is complete, it will be the only restored naviable aqueduct in New York State. Of the 32 original aqueducts on the First Enlargement, only about seven remail intact.

"Downstream from the present First Enlargement Aqueduct, can be found the remains of the 1820 Clinton's Ditch Aqueduct with an adjacent lock. Two stone arches supported the 120 foot water bridge. This area has been cleared and kiosks interpret the site."

Plans include restoration of the wooden trunk so that it can carry water again, which would enable reconnection of the two one-mile segments of the Erie Canal on either side.

The aqueduct was abandoned in 1917 when the Barge Canal replaced the Erie Canal. It is located off Thompson Road in Camillus, about a mile east from Sim's Store. It is a

few hundred yards walking distance from a small parking area on Thompson Road.

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