Lake Erie and Ohio River Canal

1945 Map showing proposed canal from Ashtabula, OH to Rochester, PA
from a 1948 Pennsylvania Railroad Board of Directors Inspection Trip of Physical Property.

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A Lake Erie - Ohio River Canal from the mouth of the Beaver River at Rochester, Pa. to a point near Ashtabula, Ohio on Lake Erie has been under consideration for a number of years.

The canalization of a part of this route from Rochester, Pa. via the Beaver and Mahoning Rivers to Struthers, Ohio, six miles south of the center of Youngstown, Ohio, has also been considered and vigorously supported by Youngstown interests. This is known as the stub or dead end canal, and efforts to have its construction approved by the U. S. Senate failed in December 1944.

The through canal from Rochester to Ashtabula would be up approximately 105 miles long and in the 1939 report of the U. S. Army Engineers was estimated to cost $240,000,000, although railroad Engineers estimated the cost considerably above that amount.

As result of a resolution adopted in July 1946 by the Committee on Rivers and Harbors of U. S. House of Representatives, the Board of Engineers was requested to review the 1939 report to determine current est mate of costs and benefits of a through canal and the advisability of providing a project depth suitable for both lake and river traffic.

The District Engineer at Pittsburgh has now completed his study of this proposed waterway and the subject will soon be set for hearing before the Army Engineers Board for Rivers and Harbors.

According to the report prepared by the District Engineer the cost of the canal is now estimated at more than $439,000,000, or almost twice the amount shown in the 1939 report. Annual maintenance is estimated at more than $20,000,000. Railroad Engineers are now engaged on a study of this project, and it is anticipated they will develop even greater costs than shown by the Army Engineers. The annual prospective tonnage for the canal is estimated at 36,714,000 tons, consisting chiefly of coal, coke, iron ore and stone, with average annual savings to shippers of $24,455,000. The effect on rail carriers revenues of such a loss of tonnage would possibly exceed $70,000,000.