Dismal Swamp Canal closed indefinitely because of Hurricane Matthew damage

November 28, 2016. Due to heavy shoaling, which was caused by Hurricane Matthew, the Dismal Swamp Canal has been closed until further notice. (Photo courtesy: Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The Great Dismal Swamp Canal is closed indefinitely, announced officials at the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Canal was closed in October due to extensive damage from Hurricane Matthew. Crews have been working for months to clear debris from the waterway. It also requires dredging and there is an investigation into reports of shoaling.

Photos: Hurricane Matthew Damage

The Canal is where the neighborhood drains. It rose two feet higher than normal elevation during the storm. The Lake Drummond Reservation facilities were also damaged and remain closed for repairs.

A scheduled project to refurbish the Deep Creek Lock river gates will get underway the first week of January and will take an estimated 75 days to complete. This maintenance is performed every 15 years. During this work, crews will continue to remove debris from the canal.

Vessels can use the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal during the Dismal Swamp Canal closure. The North Landing Bridge on the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal opens every hour and half-hour, from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. On-demand openings are provided for commercial traffic as needed, and for private vessels after 7 p.m.

The Dismal Swamp Canal was completed in 1805. It is the oldest continually operating, hand-dug waterway in the United States.