By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
CRANESVILLE -- A $40,000 boat launch and dock is being added at Lock E-10 to provide better public access to the Mohawk River, state officials said last week.
The project includes the construction of 15-foot wide concrete boat launch and ramp just east of the Cranesville lock, giving boaters better access to the waterway. A 38-foot aluminum dock will also extend into the canal for additional access.
The site previously contained a patch of gravel for smaller boats such as kayaks and canoes but larger boats had to access the water farther downstream.
"We are always encouraging people to use the canal system so anytime we can make that easier for them, we try to do it," said Shane Mahar, deputy director of media relations for the state Canal Corp. "It formalizes a location for the public and it gives us greater access as well."
Any time a canal dam is raised or lowered, a boat with a safety crew is positioned downstream in case of an accident, he said.
"Before we used to have to launch from somewhere else and then go from there," Mahar said.
The new launch is part of a $5.1 million project to restore and rebuild the infrastructure at Lock E-10, which was damaged during tropical storms Irene and Lee in 2011. The patch of gravel was also washed away.
James H. Maloy Inc., an Albany construction company, will complete the work, which also includes strengthening the moveable dam so it can be raised out of the water during floods.
"As we were developing the contracting for Lock-10 for the repair of the lock and the mitigation of the dam, in that contract we also put in to include amenities a formal boat launch," Mahar said.
However Lock E-10 is not the only site where public access is being improved. Repairs are under way at the seven other movable dam structures at every lock between Scotia and Fort Plain, and boat launches are proposed for half of them.
The launch and dock will be free to the public there but boaters traveling through the locks must purchase a two-day, 10-day or seasonal pass. The cost varies, depending on the size of the boat.