New York State Plans to Shut Off Niagara Falls
News| | By Margo Gothelf
New York State has plans to shut off the water to the American side of Niagara Falls.
The New York Parks System wants to shut off the falls in the next two to three years in order to replace two 115-year old strong arch bridges. The bridge allows pedestrians, park vehicles, and utilities access to Goat Island.
This is not the first time the American side to the falls has been shut off. In 1969, the falls were put at a temporary halt for scientists to study erosion and the rock buildup at the base of the falls. What was supposed to be a “once in a lifetime” event could occur once again.
Having the water shut off to the falls did not stop people from flocking to the tourist attraction.
“It’s the nature of curiosity. You want to see what’s underneath, to see its skeleton,” explained Michelle Kratts, Niagara Falls city historian, to The Buffalo News.
While the water was shut off in 1969, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers diverted water to study erosions. However, nothing was changed and the International Joint Commission suggested letting nature run its course. Coincidently, two skeletons were found when the water was shut off along with millions of coins.
The shutoff this time around has nothing to do with science and is more of a safety concern. The two stone-faced concrete arch bridges, originally built in 1900 and 1901, were closed in 2004 and a temporary bridge was put into its place for safety. However, the main structure remains underneath and the bridge is weakening. 10 years later the temporary bridges are still in place.
The main proposal would be to replace the two stone-faced concrete arch bridges with the water shut off. However, not everyone is on board with the plan.
“The sun baking down on the rock isn’t good for the falls and it also affects the appearance of the falls. I’m very concerned about the long-term effects,” Paul Gromosiak, a Niagara Falls historian and author shared. “I wish they could do it without turning off the falls.”
While Gromosiak is in favor of replacing the bridges, he does not want to harm the “natural evolution of the falls.”
“I think it’s a mistake,” Gromosiak said.