The National Park Service will preside over a groundbreaking ceremony this Saturday, August 7th, to commemorate the beginning of a $17 million renovation project to replace a crumbling section of the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal National Historic Park.
United States Senator Ben Cardin plus other C&O and NPS officials are scheduled at the morning ceremony, which is expected to attract more than 300 guests. Among those guests will be Cianbro Project Manager Kevin Mitchell and MAR Business Development Manager Mike McGeady.
The C&O Canal was built in the 1820s, based on an idea put forth by George Washington. The canal once served as an important transportation link for commerce in the early decades of the nation. Nearly 200 years later, the canal is a destination for outdoor enthusiasts who hike and bike along the 185 mile towpath.
A critical section of the towpath in Williamsport, Maryland has crumbled over the years due to significant floods during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. The resulting damage has forced visitors to use a five mile detour that takes them outside the boundaries of the National Historic Park.
Cianbro's Mid-Atlantic team won the contract to perform the repairs. The job will entail a wide range of improvements, including jet grouting, drilled pier installation, caisson drilling, and placement of precast deck and face panels. The result will be a reinforced towpath that will match the historical appearance of the original. The majority of the work must take place from floating barges and other vessels on the Potomac River due to the inaccessibility of the jobsite. The project will put approximately 50 local team members to work for about two years.
Once the project is complete, the entire length of the historic C&O Canal will be accessible to park visitors.