Gossips learned last week of a plan to install a seasonal barge mooring on the river in Germantown, not far from Lasher Park. The proposal is being made by Marine Highway Transportation, a Troy barge operator.
application to the Army Corps of Engineers describes the purpose of the project in this way:
New York State Marine Highway Transportation LLC (NYS Marine) is a Tug & Barge operator based in Troy, NY. We transport by Barge bulk aggregates (stone, sand, rock, etc.) from quarries in Catskill (Peckham) & Hudson (Colarusso) to the NY metropolitan area.
Both of these quarries dock's are in narrow sections of the River immediately adjacent to the Navigation Channel. This proximity to the nav-channel does not afford a safe berth for multiple barges. The purpose of this permit request is to provide a lay-berth for barges while waiting for berth availability at the quarry's loading facility. Typically barges are switched out within 12 hours or less. Additionally the mooring will provide a safe location with adequate sea-room to make/break tows that are going to the two Hudson and Catskill Quarries.
We plan to install and remove the Mooring seasonally dependent on when the River freezes and thaws.
A fact sheet shared with Gossips questions the problem being solved by the proposed mooring, with specific reference to the Peckham dock in Catskill: "We are not aware of any collisions, accidents or other problems at the Peckham Dock." The same can be said regarding the Colarusso dock.
The concern in Germantown is having tugs dropping off barges next to a public park, a public boat launch, and fire department rescue launch. For us in Hudson, it's hard not to think this plan to create a lay-berth for barges may signal an anticipated increase in barge traffic at the Colarusso dock and a corresponding increase in truck traffic from the quarry to the river.
The current status of the project is this: According to Randy Alstadt, the community representative for the Hudson River Safety, Navigation and Operations Committee (HRSNOC), who sought the input of several Germantown residents, "The Committee voted to support this proposal . . . to add a seasonal mooring site to make loading and unloading safer." Even though the committee has already decided to support the proposal, it is now asking for community input. The community whose input is sought is Germantown, but there is no reason why users of the river from other locations cannot also make their opinions and concerns known. Comments should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and copied to email@example.com.
More information about the proposal can be found here. The next step in the process is for the proposal to go to the Army Corps of Engineers for its approved. The ACOE will also have a public comment period.
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