Black Rock Lock
The Black Rock Lock located in Buffalo, New York is 650 feet (200 m) in length and 70 feet (21 m) in wide. There is only one chamber and the total weight of the gate is 480 tons. The lock has been a part of Black Rock since the state of New York built the Erie Canal in 1833.
Black Rock Channel
The Black Rock Channel extends from Buffalo Harbor to the Black Rock Lock. The channels waterway is three and a half miles in length. The Black Rock Channel was constructed to provide protection to reefs, rapids and fast currents in the upstream Niagara River. Pleasure crafts and commercial vessels can only be 625 feet (191 m) long with drafts to 21 feet (6.4 m) to be allowed in the lock and channel. Although both pleasure craft and commercial vessels are allowed in the channel it is required that the pleasure crafts yield the right of way to all commercial vessels. There are three bridges that cross the channel. They are the Peace Bridge, the Ferry Street Bridge and the International Railroad Bridge. The Peace Bridge is the first bridge that is passed coming from the south entrance of the channel. The Peace Bridge has a clearance of 200 feet (61 m) above Low Water Datum (LWD). The Ferry Bridge is a lift bridge and is the next bridge located 1.9 miles (3.1 km) from the south entrance of the channel. The Ferry Bridge has a clearance of 17.3 above the LWD. Then 3.1 miles (5.0 km) for the south channel entrance comes the International Railroad Bridge. This is a swing bridge which has a clearance of 17 feet (5.2 m) LWD when closed.
Black Rock Lock History
The lock was constructed by the Corps of Engineers from 1908-1913 as part of the Erie Canal. It has been that facility to house large Great Lakes vessels that have carried essential goods to business and industry in Western New York. The lock went through its first rehabilitation in 1975. From 1984-1986 the locks guard gates and the operating system were rehabilitated. Since the 90’s many things have been done to provide a safer work environment, such as the installation of new fencing, railing and ladders. Other things like the refurbishing of the lock houses, and the widening and capping of all concrete approach walls have been done as well.