Part of the mighty Niagara Falls may stop running for months, to allow bridges to be built.
The US section of Niagara attracts more than 20-million visitors a year and the falls are undoubtedly one of the great sights of the world.
However, a proposal to replace two 115-year old bridges connecting the mainland to Goat Island may force the thunderous American Falls to be turned off, according to a report from New York State’s parks and transportation agencies.
Officially called ‘dewatering’, the process would involve a temporary cofferdam to direct the roaring cascade to the adjoining Horseshoe Falls.
The report says the Goat Island bridges could then be demolished and replaced by new crossings anchored firmly in the bedrock below the water.
On our last visit to Niagara Falls, we were shown photographs of a similar ‘dewatering’ that was carried out in 1969 so engineers could assess the stability of rock below the falls.
We were told, on that occasion, the engineers found two bodies and large amounts of coin after the falls were turned off.
We saw the photos, but it was still hard to imagine the awesome and almost spiritual American Falls running dry.
However, the 1969 ‘dewatering’ apparently attracted big crowds to see the dry cliff face – and a repeat could prove a marketing windfall.
The new bridges to Goat Island would also help smarten-up the American park area, which is truly a wonderful attraction.
A second shutdown is, however, only one option being considered and media reports suggest that completion of the bridge project – if it goes ahead – could be several years away.
In the meantime, Niagara Falls remains a stunning and inspirational destination. We thoroughly recommend it – and also our friends at the towering Giacomo Hotel who made our stay especially memorable.