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Historic Macedon Aqueduct faces uncertain future due to erosion

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The Macedon Aqueduct, a historic stone structure built in 1865, once played a pivotal role in carrying the Erie Canal over the Ganargua Creek, also known as Mud Creek, in the town of Macedon. As the canal expanded and was reconfigured into the Barge Canal in the early 1900s, the aqueduct lost its original purpose and became part of the Erie Canal Pathway.

Over the years, erosion caused by the Ganargua Creek has threatened the stability of the aqueduct’s west embankment. In May 2021, the Canal Corporation diverted the Erie Canal Pathway away from the structure and onto Route 31 due to concerns about a potential spillway collapse. Plans to reinforce the embankment were complicated by the discovery of more severe erosion than initially anticipated.

Now, officials are considering two options: Investing in major, costly repairs to rebuild the aqueduct embankment or carefully deconstructing and relocating the structure to preserve it as a historic relic. The debate mirrors the story of the Aldrich Change Bridge, which once served the old canal and was removed in 1915. The bridge was eventually acquired by the Town of Macedon in 1996 and restored as part of the Palmyra-Macedon Towpath Trail on the New York State Heritage Trail system in 2004.

In deciding the future of the Macedon Aqueduct, officials must also consider the challenges posed by the annual accumulation of debris and the spillway, which directs water from the canal to Ganargua Creek. The creek and the canal intersect near the old powerhouse and Lock #29 before diverging again at the Harrison Spillway in Swifts Landing Park in Palmyra.

Shane Mahar, a spokesperson for the New York State Canal Corporation, told the Times of Wayne County that the Macedon Aqueduct is among only a few remaining structures of its kind throughout the canal system. As the Canal Corporation’s engineers explore potential solutions, they will continue to hold advisory meetings to discuss the aqueduct’s fate.