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Proposal: Shut off Niagara Falls to replace bridges

By Shawn Price   |   Jan. 25, 2016 at 6:08 AM

BUFFALO, N.Y., Jan. 25 (UPI) -- A new proposal by the New York State parks system could temporarily shut off Niagara Falls within three years to replace walkways, authorities said.

The proposal would "dewater" the U.S. side of the falls temporarily to replace a pair of 115-year-old stone arch bridges used by pedestrians as well as park vehicles to access Goat Island in the Niagara River.

If the plan gets approved, it would be the second time the U.S. side of the falls has been shut down. The previous shutoff came in 1969 when scientists studied the effects of erosion and the buildup of rock at the base of the falls.

"They just put the bridge across of the top of the island here from the shore and shut it right down," said Jim Chamberlain, who saw the water-less falls in 1969. "It was amazing."

Workers also found two bodies and millions of coins.

The parks department is proposing three plans, two of which involve shutting the water flow off. A parks spokesman said there is currently no funding for the projects, but the point is to put themselves in a good position for when the funding might become available.

The proposals were expected be made at a public hearing at the Niagara Falls Conference Center on Wednesday.

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