- Saint Lawrence Seaway
The St. Lawrence Seaway is the common name for a system of
canals that permits ocean-going vessels to travel from the Atlantic Oceanto the Great Lakes, as far as Lake Superior. Legally it extends from Montrealto Lake Erie, including the Welland Canaland the Great Lakes Waterway. The seaway is named after the Saint Lawrence River, which it follows from Lake Ontarioto the Atlantic Ocean.
The Saint Lawrence Seaway was preceded by a number of other canals. In 1862, locks on the St Lawrence allowed transit of vessels 186 feet (57 m) long, 44½ feet (13.6 m) wide, and 9 feet (2.7 m) deep. The
Welland Canalat that time allowed transit of vessels 142 feet (43 m) long, 26 feet (7.9 m) wide, and 10 feet (3.0 m) deep, but was generally too small to allow passage of larger ocean-going ships.
Proposals for the Seaway started in 1909, but was met with resistance from railway and port lobbyists inthe US. In addition to replacing the canal system, generation of hydroelectricity also drove the project. After rejecting numerous agreements to construct a Seaway, construction was approved in 1954 when Canada declared it was ready to proceed unilaterally. The Seaway opened in 1959 and cost $470 million US dollars, $336.2 million of whichwas paid by the Canadian government. [cite web
title=History of the Saint Lawrence Seaway
Queen Elizabeth IIand President Dwight Eisenhowerformally opened the Seaway with a short cruise aboard Royal Yacht"Britannia" after addressing the crowds in St. Lambert, Quebec.
The seaway's opening is often credited with making the
Erie Canalobsolete, thus setting off the severe economic decline of several cities in upstate New York.
Lock and channel dimensions
The size of vessels that can traverse the seaway is limited by the size of locks. Locks on the St Lawrence and on the Welland Canal are 766 feet (233.5 m) long, 80 feet (24 m) wide, and 30 feet (9.1 m) deep. The maximum allowed vessel size is slightly smaller: 740 feet (225.6 m) long, 78 feet (23.8 m) wide, and 26 feet (7.9 m) deep; many vessels designed for use on the Great Lakes following the opening of the seaway were built to the maximum size permissible by the locks, known informally as "Seaway-Max". Large vessels of the
lake freighterfleet are built on the Lakes and cannot travel down the seaway to the ocean. The only lock on the Great Lakes Waterwayis 1,200 feet (357 m) long, 110 feet (33.5 m) wide and 32 feet (9.8 m) deep, but the channels are not kept that deep.
Water depth is another obstacle to vessels, particularly in connecting waterways such as the St Lawrence River. The depth in the channels of the seaway is 41 feet (12.5 m) (
panamaxdepth) downstream of Quebec City, 35 feet (10.7 m) between Quebec City and Deschaillons, 37 feet (11.3 m) to Montreal, and 28 feet (8.2 m ) upstream of Montreal. Channels in the Great Lakes Waterway are slightly shallower: 25 to 27 feet (7.62 to 8.2 m). In the late 1990s the seaway has been deepened and widened increasing near panamax sized ship access upstream from the Atlantic ocean to Montreal.
Channel depths and limited lock sizes mean that only 10% of ocean-going ships can traverse the entire seaway. Proposals to expand the seaway, dating from as early as the 1960s, have been rejected as too costly, and environmentally and economically unsound. Lower water levels in the Great Lakes have also posed problems for some vessels in recent years.
To create a navigable channel through the
Long Saultrapids and to allow hydroelectric stations to be established immediately upriver from Cornwall, Ontarioand Massena, New York, an artificial lake had to be created. Called Lake St. Lawrence, it required the flooding on July 1, 1958of ten villages in Ontario, now collectively known as " The Lost Villages". There was also inundation on the New York side, but no communities were affected.
The creation of the seaway also led to the introduction of foreign species of aquatic animals, including the sea lamprey and the
zebra mussel, into the Great Lakes Basin. These organisms were introduced via ballast water from oceanic vessels.
The seaway provides significant entertainment and recreation such as boating, camping, fishing, and scuba diving. Of particular note is that the seaway provides a number of divable wrecks within recreational scuba limits (shallower than 130 ft.). Surprisingly, the water temperature can be as warm as 70°F with little or no
thermoclineduring the mid to late summer months.
* [http://www.greatlakes-seaway.com/en/commercial/seaway-handbook/index.html Seaway Handbook] issued by the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, (Head Office, 202 Pitt Street, Cornwall, Ontario, Canada K6J 3P7) 2006.
* (Worldcat link: [http://www.worldcatlibraries.org/oclc/932877] )
* [http://www.greatlakes-seaway.com/en/index.html Great Lakes St Lawrence Seaway System web site]
* [http://www.seaway.dot.gov/ The St Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation]
* [http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/dl/StLawrenceSeaway/StLawrenceSeawaydocuments.html Documents and Photographs relating to the Saint Lawrence Seaway, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library]
* [http://lostvillages.ca The Lost Villages Historical Society]
* Excerpt from the "Illustrated London News, January 11, 1862" [http://www.theshipslist.com/1862/canals.html describing the "Canals of Canada".]
* [http://www.lexum.umontreal.ca/ca_us/en/cts.1993.25.en.html Exchange of Notes, amending 1959 Agreement of Application of Tolls]
* [http://archives.cbc.ca/IDD-1-69-637/life_society/seaway/ CBC Digital Archives — The St Lawrence Seaway: Gateway to the world]
* [http://www.ppl.nl/bibliographies/all/?bibliography=water Bibliography on Water Resources and International Law] See Great Lakes; St. Lawrence River and Seaway. Peace Palace Libray
* [http://www.qc.ec.gc.ca/csl/inf/inf045_e.html Channel Depth and Width information]
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Look at other dictionaries:
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