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Park Project Updates

At 184.5 miles long and with more historical structures than any other national park, the C&O Canal National Historical Park is always a work in progress. This summer, however, visitors will be able to enjoy the fruits of several big projects that nearing completion.

  • Georgetown: Locks 3 and 4 have been completely rebuilt and the Park anticipates re-watering the canal between Georgetown and Fletchers Cove in May.
  • Locks 5 through 22 (Fletchers Cove to Violettes Lock): The repair and replacement of a number of locks, culverts, waste water weirs and other canal structures is almost done. The canal is now re-watered from Great Falls to Violettes Lock. Operation of the Charles F. Mercer canal boat will resume in June once work on Lock 19 is completed.
  • The rehabilitation of the Conococheague Aqueduct is expected to be complete by mid-July, assuming the weather cooperates!

Projects either underway or that will begin this summer:

  • Towpath resurfacing: The Park’s multiyear towpath resurfacing project is off to a strong start with the five miles between Edwards Ferry and Whites Ferry completed. A further 17 miles from Brunswick to Packhorse Ford near the Shepherdstown Bridge will be resurfaced this year.
  • Paw Paw Tunnel: The Park will be continuing to scale the rock face above the towpath on the upstream end of the tunnel. The good news is that the tunnel will not be closed while work is underway. Instead, flaggers will be stationed at both ends of the tunnel to allow hikers and bikers to safely traverse the work zone. Delays are estimated to last from five to 10 minutes.
  • Bridge over Culvert 82: Planning for a bridge over the towpath breach at Culvert 82, downriver from Brunswick, is underway. The Park’s goal is to have the bridge done by September. In the meantime, the Park is planning to install a temporary low water crossing to help hikers and bikers safely cross the breach.
  • Abner Cloud House: The Park is replacing windows and the roof on this historic house that pre-dates the C&O Canal.
  • Bench installations: Twenty new benches will be installed over the summer and fall at locations from Fletchers Cove (Mile 3) to Lock 56 (Mile 136). This will bring the total number of benches installed under our Bench Sponsorship Program to 57.