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NYPA and NYSCC Announce Iconic Infrastructure Illuminated Along New York's Historic Erie Canal

Dec 23, 2021

LED Lighting Installed Through Reimagine The Canals Initiative Celebrates Canal Structures in Communities

Photos of Fairport Lift Bridge, Brewerton and Verona Beach Lighthouses

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) and New York State Canal Corporation today unveiled the first lighting projects celebrating iconic infrastructure along New York State's historic Erie Canal. This newly installed lighting, through the State's Reimagine the Canals initiative, is the first of several planned lighting projects to illuminate historic pieces of New York's canalway infrastructure, both celebrating its rich history and inviting New Yorkers to enjoy the outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities that lie along the banks of the Canal. New LED lighting features will illuminate and beautify the Fairport Lift Bridge over the Canal in Monroe County, as well as two Oneida Lake lighthouses—one in Brewerton, in Oswego County, and another at Verona Beach in Oneida County.

“The Erie Canal is an incredible piece of our shared history as New Yorkers, and the illumination of these structures will invite New Yorkers and visitors alike to pause and reflect on the tremendous influence the Canal has had over the past 200 years," said NYPA Chairman John R. Koelmel. “These new lighting features are yet another important step forward in highlighting and building upon the tremendous outdoor recreation opportunities available along the Canal system, and I thank Governor Hochul for continuing to invest in the preservation and celebration of one of New York's most storied and important pieces of infrastructure."

NYPA Interim President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, “As we commemorate the bicentennial of the Erie Canal's opening and the profound impact the waterway had on our state, lighting these structures is an outstanding way to highlight the Canal's heritage and its history as an engineering marvel and to remind today's visitors of the recreational asset they have right in their backyards. It's also a beacon for the incredible recreation and tourism activities that occur along New York's Canal system, reminding all New Yorkers to celebrate their place within canalside communities."

New York State Canal Corporation Brian U. Stratton said, “The Reimagine the Canalsinitiative is reenergizing our Canal system while preserving the Erie Canal's rich history and connection to so many canalside communities like Fairport, Brewerton and Verona Beach. These key pieces of infrastructure helped us build the New York we have today, and the new lighting features welcome New Yorkers and visitors alike to pause and recognize their crucial influence on our state's history—and future. The illumination of these iconic structures enhances the communities along the canal and literally shines light onto our canal infrastructure for all to enjoy."

The New York Power Authority and Canal Corporation contracted with New York City based Office for Visual Interaction (OVI), an architectural lighting design firm, and LiRo Engineers Inc. (LiRo), based on Long Island, to create energy-efficient lighting installations on the lift bridge and the lighthouses that compliments and highlights the historic features of each. The project utilized a design-build approach to contracting to accomplish the procurement and installation at each Canal structure.

Fairport Lift Bridge

The Fairport Lift Bridge carries Main Street over the Erie Canal in the Village of Fairport. It opened in 1913, as part of the expanded Barge Canal, and is one of 16 lift bridges constructed over the canal between Fairport in Monroe County and the City of Lockport in Niagara County.

The electricity for the lift bridge and the newly installed LED lighting is supplied by Fairport Electric, one of NYPA's municipal electric power customers. In addition, NYPA designated Fairport as an “EVolve NY Electric Vehicle Accelerator Community" and helped to sponsor an EV shuttle that was used by the community while the lift bridge underwent a major rehabilitation project that was recently completed by the State Department of Transportation (DOT). NYPA and the Canal Corporation collaborated with DOT to install the lighting in alignment with their project to reduce impacts on travelers and residents.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “The Department of Transportation recognizes the importance of the Fairport Lift Bridge to the local community and in 2019 initiated a $16.3 million project to repair this iconic structure as well as another lift bridge in Spencerport, enhancing the safety and resiliency of both structures. The new LED lighting will help showcase the Fairport bridge's beauty and its important place in the rich history of the Erie Canal. The Department of Transportation is proud to have played a major role along with our state and local partners in ensuring that this bridge continues to serve residents and visitors for many years to come."

Oneida Lake Lighthouses

The Brewerton Lighthouse is located along the north bank of the Erie Canal and Oneida River in the Town of Hastings in Oswego County. Completed in 1917, as part of the Barge Canal, the Brewerton Lighthouse guides vessels to the western entrance of the Canal on Oneida Lake.

The Verona Beach Lighthouse, a twin of the Brewerton Lighthouse, is located along the eastern shore of Oneida Lake in the Town of Verona in Oneida County. The lighthouse was also completed in 1917, as part of the Barge Canal, and guides mariners to the eastern entrance of the Erie Canal on Oneida Lake.

NYPA and the Canal Corporation anticipate lighting additional pieces of infrastructure in other Canal communities in the future.

Through the Reimagine the Canals initiative, the New York Power Authority committed $300 million over five years to revitalize the Erie Canal corridor as a tourism and recreation destination while simultaneously boosting economic development and improving the resiliency of canalside communities.

Navigation Season

The opening day of the 198 th consecutive season of navigation on the New York State Canal system is scheduled to be Friday, May 20, 2022. All canal users and stakeholders are encouraged to register to receive updates through the “Notice to Mariners" notification program at