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Towpath Repairs Near Anglers

A 125-foot breach of the towpath occurred on September 6, 2008, at the popular stretch known as Anglers. The breach began on September 5, as a sinkhole and quickly grew to a full scale breach after it was inundated with torrential downpours and huge amounts of runoff from the surrounding hillsides as a result of Tropical Storm Hannah.

Funding to repair the breach at Anglers was the product of a three-year collaboration of park staff, elected officials, the C&O Canal Trust, and the community.  The project became eligible for funding because of a $100,000 donation given by the Trust, the park’s official non-profit park partner, on behalf of the community.  The donation expedited the the geotechnical evaluations and surveying at the site and a design for sustainable repairs, positioning the park to receive public funding for the construction.

With the financial and vocal support of the community, repairs to the breach were funded in September 2011.  Maryland’s Transportation Enhancement Program accounted for $1.1 million of the total $3.3 million required for the repairs, and the additional $2.2 million necessary came from the National Park Service Line Item Construction Program. 

In repairing the breach, the park implemented a long-term sustainable solution to limit problems in an area where leaks have been a long-standing issue.  A total of 69,454 square feet of PVC liner and 1,007 cubic yards of concrete were installed over 335 days (31 days ahead of schedule) to prevent future catastrophic failures due to leaks.

The restoration of the historical towpath and the rewatering of the canal, and thus the return of scenic views and recreational opportunities at Anglers, showcases the significant impact a community of supporters can have on the preservation and conservation of this national treasure in our backyard.  The C&O Canal Trust and the C&O Canal National Historical Park wish to lend its thanks to the community of donors and supporters who played a vital role in helping make the repairs possible!

A celebration of the completed repairs was held at Anglers on

Saturday, November 17. Photos coming soon.


Towpath Open at Anglers
October 23, 2012
Information and photos provided by Ken Zabielski, Bike Patroller

Good news. The barricades are down and traffic is flowing on the towpath at Anglers. Workers started pulling down the barricades this afternoon a few minutes before I arrived there on a routine patrol. But wait. There's more. Workers were also breaching the cofferdam under the bridge at Anglers. Water has been flowing into the restored canal. But get this. The water was flowing upstream.

There were several park visitors and construction workers at the bridge at Anglers. All the visitors were excited, and the workers were proud of what they had accomplished.

     

 


Progress Update for Repairs at Anglers
October 3, 2012

The project is approximately 95% complete. Since the previous update, the contractor has completed placement of concrete for both the upstream and downstream termination walls. The contractor has also completed placement of 620 linear feet of concrete curb wall (47 cubic yards). The installation of 65,000 square feet of synthetic liner was completed as of 09/21/12. The site work subcontractor has initiated compacting a minimum of one (1) foot of clay material over the synthetic liner within the canal prism floor; this process should be completed by the end of the week.

         

         

 


Progress Update for Repairs at Anglers
July 13, 2012

Repair work of the towpath breach near Angler’s is ongoing. The stone masons have completed selection and installation of stones for restoration of the historic stone wall. These stones will serve as the face for a new mass concrete retaining wall on top of a new concrete footing. Behind the stone face, the concrete retaining wall has been formed and placed to its required elevation on the downstream side. Placement of concrete on the upstream side of the wall should be completed in the next week. 

Finally, the contractor also has initiated the excavation and drainage operations necessary for restoration of the historic towpath and canal prism. These operations are expected to continue through the remainder of Summer 2012. 

The construction effort on the towpath breach repairs continues to require periodic closures of all parking areas at the Angler's access across from the Old Angler’s Inn on MacArthur Boulevard, as well as the lower drop off lot. The middle entrance to the parking areas remains closed, and vehicular traffic generally is prohibited at Angler’s from 5:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. daily in the upper lot and the lower drop off lot. However, the lower drop off lot will be open on a day-to-day basis pending contractor operations and delivery of materials to the job site.

Regardless of the construction operations, limited parking will be available for both the upper lot and the lower drop off lot after 5:00 p.m. weekdays, on weekends, and holidays. Alternative parking is available at Carderock (2 miles east) and Great Falls (2.2 miles west). 

While the National Park Service recognizes this inconvenience to the public, these closures are necessary to assure visitor safety while construction is continuing.  Every effort will be made to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists using the area.  All visitors are asked to obey posted closure signs and stay on designated detour routes for their safety. Please obey flagmen and regulatory signs and do your part to assure that construction proceeds as quickly and safely as possible. 

The expected completion date for the work remains fall 2012.

 


Progress at Anglers continues
May 5, 2012

Repair work of the towpath breach near Angler’s is ongoing. Since the previous update, the contractor has placed concrete for the caissons, grade beam, and slab for the new land bridge over the historic Washington Aqueduct. Within the breach area, the stone masons are continuing to select and place recovered stones for restoration of the historic stone wall on top of the new concrete footing. Finally, the contractor also has installed the first segments of new underdrain pipe within the canal prism. 

The construction effort continues to require periodic closures of all parking areas across from the Old Angler’s Inn on MacArthur Boulevard, as well as the lower drop off lot. The middle entrance to the parking areas remains closed, and vehicular traffic generally is prohibited at Angler’s from 5:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. daily in the upper lot and the lower drop off lot. However, the lower drop off lot will be open on a day-to-day basis pending contractor operations and delivery of materials to the job site. Regardless of the construction operations, limited parking will be available for both the upper lot and the lower drop off lot after 5:00 p.m. weekdays, on weekends, and holidays. Alternative parking is available at Carderock (2 miles east) and Great Falls (2.2 miles west).  

While the National Park Service recognizes this inconvenience to the public, these closures are necessary to assure visitor safety while construction is continuing.  Every effort will be made to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists using the area.  All visitors are asked to obey posted closure signs and stay on designated detour routes for their safety. Please obey flagmen and regulatory signs and do your part to assure that construction proceeds as quickly and safely as possible. 

The expected completion date for the work remains fall 2012.

 

Concrete footing completed; masonry work has begun
April 2, 2012

Potomac, MD - Repair work of the towpath breach near Angler’s is ongoing. Since the previous update, the contractor has completed the cast-in-place stepped concrete footing in its entirety, including excavation, installation of steel reinforcement, and placement of concrete. 

The stone masons mobilized to the site and began selection of stones for restoration of the historic stone wall on top of the new footing. 

Finally, the contractor also began installation of the reinforced concrete caissons for the new land bridge over the historic Washington Aqueduct. 

This substantial construction effort continues to require periodic closures of all parking areas across from the Old Angler’s Inn on MacArthur Boulevard, as well as the lower drop off lot. The middle entrance to the parking areas remains closed, and vehicular traffic is prohibited at Angler’s from 5:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. daily. Limited parking will be available after 5:00 p.m. weekdays, on weekends, and holidays. Alternative parking is available at Carderock (2 miles east) and Great Falls (2.2 miles west).  

While the National Park Service recognizes this inconvenience to the public, these closures are necessary to assure visitor safety while construction is continuing.  Every effort will be made to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists using the area.  All visitors are asked to obey posted closure signs and stay on designated detour routes for their safety.

Please obey flagmen and regulatory signs and do your part to assure that construction proceeds as quickly and safely as possible. The expected completion date for the work remains fall 2012.

 

 

Historic wall excavated; repairs remain on schedule
February 28, 2012

Potomac, MD - Repair work of the towpath breach near Angler’s is ongoing. Currently, the contractor is continuing to excavate the canal and breach area to facilitate installation of drainage improvements between the Angler's Bridge and Widewater. 

Excavation of the historic stone wall upstream of the breach area is complete. Masonry stones which were recovered during the excavation operation have been stockpiled for future reconstruction of the wall. Most of the rip rap stones necessary for scour protection at the foot of the breach area are in place. 

Finally, excavation for the cast-in-place concrete retaining wall and footing has been initiated and is expected to continue for the next several weeks. 

Repair work continues to require periodic closures of all parking areas across from the Old Angler’s Inn on MacArthur Boulevard, as well as the lower drop off lot. The middle entrance to the parking areas remains closed, and vehicular traffic is prohibited at Angler’s from 5:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. daily. Limited parking will be available after 5:00 p.m. weekdays, on weekends, and holidays. Alternative parking is available at Carderock (2 miles east) and Great Falls (2.2 miles west).  

While the National Park Service recognizes this inconvenience to the public, these closures are necessary to assure visitor safety while construction is continuing.  Every effort will be made to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists using the area. 

All visitors are asked to obey posted closure signs and stay on designated detour routes for their safety.  Please obey flagmen and regulatory signs and do your part to assure that construction proceeds as quickly and safely as possible. 

The expected completion date for the work remains fall 2012.

 

Repair work continues
February 1, 2012

Currently, the contractor is excavating the canal and breach area to facilitate installation of drainage improvements between the Angler's Bridge and Widewater. Masonry stones which are recovered during the excavation operation are being sorted and stockpiled for future reconstruction of the historic stone wall. Both the excavation and sorting operations are expected to continue for the next several weeks.

Repair work continues to require periodic closures of all parking areas across from the Old Angler’s Inn on MacArthur Boulevard, as well as the lower drop off lot. The middle entrance to the parking areas remains closed, and vehicular traffic is prohibited at Angler’s from 5:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. daily. Limited parking will be available after 5:00 p.m. weekdays, on weekends, and holidays. Alternative parking is available at Carderock (2 miles east) and Great Falls (2.2 miles west).  

While the National Park Service recognizes this inconvenience to the public, these closures are necessary to assure visitor safety while construction is continuing.  Every effort will be made to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists using the area.  

All visitors are asked to obey posted closure signs and stay on designated detour routes for their safety.  Please obey flagmen and regulatory signs and do your part to assure that construction proceeds as quickly and safely as possible. 

The expected completion date for the work remains fall 2012.
 

Repair work has resumed; visitors asked to respect posted closure and detour signs
January 9, 2012

Repair work of the towpath breach near Angler’s has resumed after the holidays. Currently, the contractor has established access to the canal prism and is continuing to mobilize equipment and materials to the site. Excavation of the canal to facilitate installation of drainage improvements between the Angler's Bridge and Widewater is expected to begin in the coming weeks. 

Repair work continues to require periodic closures of all parking areas across from the Old Angler’s Inn on MacArthur Boulevard, as well as the lower drop off lot. The middle entrance to the parking areas remains closed, and vehicular traffic is prohibited at Angler’s from 5:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. daily. Limited parking will be available after 5:00 p.m. weekdays, on weekends, and holidays. Alternative parking is available at Carderock (2 miles east) and Great Falls (2.2 miles west).  

While the National Park Service recognizes this inconvenience to the public, these closures are necessary to assure visitor safety while construction is continuing.  Every effort will be made to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists using the area.  All visitors are asked to obey posted closure signs and stay on designated detour routes for their safety.  Please obey flagmen and regulatory signs and do your part to assure that construction proceeds as quickly and safely as possible. 

The expected completion date for the work remains fall 2012.

Towpath closures and detour in place; parking lots open through January 2nd
December 21, 2011

As of 11:30 am on December 21st, the upper lot and lower drop off lots are open to visitors throughout daylight hours and will remain open through January 2nd. The 5am to 5pm daily closures of the upper lot and lower drop off lots will resume on January 3rd, once the contractor is back on site after the holidays. The middle lot remains closed and barricaded/signed accordingly. 

The hard closure of the towpath between Angler's Bridge and the lower end of Widewater is in place as of December 19th, and this will continue through the duration of the project.  Fencing has been placed across the towpath just upstream from the Angler's Bridge and just downstream from the lower end of Widewater to establish the hard closure. 

The contractor also has parked equipment at both the upper and lower limits of the project in an effort to discourage visitors from going around the closures. Visitors must use the posted detour route along Berma Road to the stop gate above Lock 16 to get from Angler's to points upstream of the breach, including Billy Goat 'A'. From the stop gate, visitors can walk downstream to Widewater, but they will have to turn around at the lower end of Widewater and head back upstream because the hard closure is in place.

 

Contract work begins at Angler's Breach
December 15, 2011

The contractor is setting up his perimeter controls, mobilizing equipment and materials to the site and establishing access to the canal prism. Repair work continues to require periodic closures of all parking areas across from the Old Angler's Inn on McArthur Boulevard, as well as the lower drop off lot.

Currently, the middle entrance to the parking areas is closed, and vehicular traffic also is prohibited at Angler¹s from 5:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. daily. Limited parking will be available after 5:00 p.m. weekdays, on weekends, and holidays. Alternative parking is available at Carderock (2 miles east) and Great Falls (2.2 miles west).  While the National Park Service recognizes this inconvenience to the public, these closures are necessary to assure visitor safety while construction is underway.  Every effort will be made to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists using the area.  All visitors are asked to obey posted closure signs and stay on designated detour routes for their safety.  Please obey flagmen and regulatory signs and do your part to assure that construction proceeds as quickly and safely as possible. The completion date for the work remains fall 2012.

 

Sustainable Repairs to Begin Soon
Canal Quarterly
November 2011

On September 24, 2011, almost three years to the day since the torrential rains of Tropical Storm Hanna wreaked havoc on the C&O Canal, ripping a 125-foot hole in the historic towpath upstream of Old Angler’s Inn, the C&O Canal officially announced the good news—the funds necessary to repair the breach and restore the historic towpath’s continuity had been awarded!

Funding to repair the breach at Anglers is a product of the collaboration of park staff, elected officials, the Trust, and the community. Maryland’s Transportation Enhancement Program accounted for $1.1 million of the total $3.3 million required for the repairs, and the additional $2.2 million necessary came from the National Park Service Line Item Construction Program. Thanks to the support of the community, the Trust was able to successfully complete a $100,000 campaign for the geotechnical evaluation and design of repairs, positioning the park to receive the National Park Service funding for the work. 

Recognizing the breach’s impact on visitors’ recreational and visual experiences on the canal, the park worked swiftly to contract the repair work. A preconstruction meeting was held on October 26, and visitors can expect to see the staging of equipment to begin shortly.  Construction is expected to begin around the start of the year and continue into the fall of 2012.

In repairing the breach, the park is implementing a long-term sustainable solution, not only for the breach itself, but also to limit future problems in an area where  leaks have been a long-standing issue.  A new liner system is being installed to limit future catastrophic failures due to leaks.

Construction will create a few kinks for frequent visitors to the area (see below), but the park is asking everyone to be patient. A few inconveniences now will mean the restoration of a historical structure and the rewatering of the canal, and thus the return of scenic views and recreational opportunities at Anglers.

The heavily-used parking lot across from Old Anglers Inn will be closed during construction. Parking will be available only after 5:00 PM and on weekends. 

Visitors are strongly discouraged from roadside parking; find additional parking at Carderock (MP 11.1) and Great Falls (MP 14.4).

Kayakers can still put in at Anglers, but must follow the Berma Road detour

The towpath will be closed from Anglers (MP 12.3) to Widewater (MP 12.6). Cyclists and pedestrians will be able to travel downstream to Widewater, but will not be able to cross over the canal. All traffic will be detoured via Berma Road (MP 12.3-13.8).

National Park Service Awards Contract to Repair Towpath Breach at Angler's
October 5, 2011

The National Park Service (NPS) has awarded a $3.36 million contract to Classic Site Solutions Inc., of Springfield, Massachusetts to repair the towpath breach near Angler’s Inn at Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park (C&O Canal NHP). 

Known as Angler’s Breach, this 125-foot gap in the towpath occurred in September 2008 as a result of torrential rains from the remnants of Tropical Storm Hannah.  A temporary bypass was installed shortly after the breach to allow visitor use of the towpath to detour around the damaged area.  The bypass blocks the flow of water in the canal prism for seven and one-half miles downstream.  This area of the towpath has breached previously during especially high flood levels.  The planned repair includes a more sustainable design that will better resist the pressures and erosion of future storms and floods.  Upon completion the canal will be watered once again.

“This project will restore the towpath and canal’s historic continuity while improving visitor safety.  This area is a gateway to the popular Widewater area of the canal as well as a necessary link to return water to the seven mile stretch of the canal downstream.  By making these repairs in a sustainable way we will minimize the potential for breaches in the future.” said Superintendent Kevin Brandt.

 

This project became eligible for funding because of a $100,000 donation from the C&O Canal Trust, the park’s official non-profit park partner.  This donation expedited the engineering studies needed to create a sustainable design.  Construction funding is being provided by the NPS construction program and $1,100,000 received from the Maryland State Highway Administration’s Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP). 

 

“If it hadn’t been for our donors rallying their support immediately after the breach, this project would not have been competitive and eligible for public funding,” said Matthew Logan, President of the C&O Canal Trust.  “Those supporters have had to wait 3 years to see their investment pay off, but their patience is finally being rewarded.”

 

“We also need to recognize the leadership of Senator Ben Cardin, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, and Montgomery County Councilman Roger Berliner.  Each of these officials care for the park and worked hard to see that the repairs were funded,” said Logan.

 

Classic Site Solutions Inc. is scheduled to begin repairs of the Angler’s Breach in the late fall of 2011 with an anticipated completion targeted for late fall of 2012.  

Breach Upstream of Angler's Bridge
By: Dan Copenhaver, Chief, Preservation & Project Management Division
Updated: January 7, 2011

Geotechnical investigations and the site topographic survey have been completed. The consultant also submitted a Scope and Cost Validation Report outlining the anticipated methods of construction and the expected costs. The report is under review by the Government. Design work continues on repairs to the breach, the re-building of the historic stone wall, and the rehabilitation of the canal prism. Final design documents are scheduled to be completed in April of 2011.

Breach Upstream of Angler's Bridge
By: Dan Copenhaver, Chief, Preservation & Project Management Division
Updated: August 13, 2010

Downed trees have been removed from the breach site to allow geotechnical investigations. Funding has been received to allow engineering design to move forward in 2010. A scope of services is being developed for a design task order to be awarded in August, 2010.

Towpath Breach Upstream of Angler's Bridge
By: Dan Copenhaver, Chief, Preservation & Project Management Division
Updated: May 14, 2010

The C&O Canal Trust has donated $100,000 to remove down trees in the area to facilitate preliminary repair design work. Unfortunately, the $600,000 received last fall from the NPS Emergency Recovery Fund was rescinded. No design work is currently planned for this fiscal year.

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Updated: September 13, 2008

The C&O Canal towpath just upstream of the popular Angler’s Inn parking lot (mile 12.3) suffered a serious breach over the weekend and is now closed to visitors. The C&O Canal NHP and the C&O Canal Trust are working together to help you understand how this collapse will affect your visit and to identify ways you can help the park recover.

What caused the breach?

No one is quite certain yet what caused the failure. Cracks in the surface of the towpath were first noticed by members of the volunteer Bike Patrol on Friday, September 5th. Park staff evaluated the site and closed the towpath to visitors later on Friday. While this was happening, staff was also preparing for the arrival of Tropical Storm Hanna on Saturday by lowering the canal’s water level to minimize flooding.






By Saturday, the cracks had expanded significantly and water was draining from the canal, leaving a large cavity underneath the towpath, and pouring into the Potomac River below. The heavy rainfall associated with Hanna, while it did not cause the failure of the towpath, certainly accelerated the process.










On Sunday, helicopter surveillance showed the full extent of the damage, much of which occurred overnight. It is estimated that the breach is 125 feet across at towpath level, though it is continuing to grow (albeit much more slowly now).


Can I still use this area?The safety of park visitors is our top priority. This area remains unstable and sections of the towpath continue to slide into the breach.  


Please respect the warning signs and barriers and stay away from the damaged area. If you are traveling toward Great Falls from Angler’s, there is a well-marked detour on Berma Road that will take you past Widewater and return you to the towpath at the stop gate and bridge above Lock 16. Widewater is still accessible from Great Falls, however.


In the future, it is very likely a shorter detour through the canal prism (the area where there is generally water) will be established around the breach. Check back with the Trust for periodic updates.


When will it be repaired?

National Park Service engineers are already at work assessing the damage and evaluating potential solutions. Given the breach’s scale, the involvement of historical resources, and its difficult setting (there is a very steep 50-60’ drop to the Potomac River at this spot), visitors should be prepared for repairs to take up to two years, possibly more. During this period, it is likely that the canal from Widewater to Lock 5 will not be watered.


How can I help?
The Trust is working closely with the National Park Service to identify ways for the community to support the park during this challenging time. For instance, it is possible that we will use this opportunity to make a variety of much-needed repairs and improvements (e.g., removal of downed trees in the prism) in the unwatered sections while repairs are being made at Angler's. Sign up for the Trust’s “Canal Connection” e-newsletter to keep abreast of these volunteer opportunities as they are planned.

In addition, many people have asked about making donations to help the park. Simply go to the Trust’s donation sign-up page and identify your gift as "in honor” of the Angler’s Inn Towpath Repairs. We’ll take care of the rest.

 

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NPS and the Trust appreciate your patience and understanding for this inconvenience. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have additional questions.


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