You may have noticed the construction of the above unusual looking structure along the canal recently (GM jokingly called them flying buttresses). What is it about and what’s going on with the canal generally? GM is here to help!
Like real flying buttresses, this structure (which is in the canal just west of Wisconsin Ave.) was put up in order to stabilize the adjoining wall. Last year, Georgetown Heritage, the non-profit that is leading the effort to restore the canal through Georgetown, became alarmed at the state of the old stone wall on the south side of the canal and the way it was bulging out. With the help of structural engineers, it determined that the wall was at risk of a catastrophic failure. It alerted NPS to the crisis and even commissioned blueprints for this support structure.
NPS was thankfully able to find the funds to build it. It’s not pretty, but it will prevent a disaster. And it will be with us for a while. The plan is to keep it up until NPS develops a permanent solution for the wall, which Georgetown Heritage predicts will be “a few years” away.
But that does not mean that the canal will stay in the current state until then. The plan is to begin finally re-watering the canal within the next few months. And the long awaited new canal boat is basically complete and expected to return by late summer or early fall.
GM was a bit worried that the wall support structure would prevent the return of the boat, but Georgetown Heritage assures him that there is room for it to pass. The fencing you can see above was specifically added to act as a buffer for the boat.
While the boat will return this year, the mules won’t. But don’t worry, the plan is to bring them back next year. And in the meantime, the new boat has been outfitted with two electric motors that will allow it to begin the canal boat rides once more.
If you’d like to get involved right away to make the canal look better, there’s a volunteer canal cleanup taking place this Saturday. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up!