Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v13n02)
Everything you always wanted to know about the canal...part nine
posted: Jan. 22, 2016
For those readers just discovering this series on the canal now in its 9th part, I will explain why the canal is important and why the Gazette is doing this series. The dam that created the Central Canal was built on the White River in 1936 and the Town of Broad Ripple grew up around it. It is why we are here today. For years the canal has supplied the City of Indianapolis with 60% of its fresh water which is processed for our clean water supply.
While we were talking again about the head end of the canal up in Broad Ripple, I mentioned the crumbling Westfield Boulevard bridge that crosses the canal.
"Oh! So there's a bridge, the Westfield bridge over the canal, that looks like it is going to fall into the canal." I started. "Who's in charge of that bridge? Who would fix that bridge?"
The crumbling Westfield Boulevard bridge over the canal at the headgates.
Ed Malone, Director of Water Production for Citizens, replied, "DPW. Department of Public Works. And they just did an underwater survey at that bridge. They've done it now a couple times in the last couple of years, where they've actually had divers go into the canal and monitor or investigate the conditions of that bridge. But, that is a DPW structure. Meaning Department of Public Works for the City of Indianapolis."
"What about the...when the banks were redone in Broad Ripple a number of years ago and the bridge was reworked, the old Monon bridge," I asked. "This may have nothing to do with the water company. Big Boulders were put in. Big rocks were put in as a retaining wall and they look original from something, I'm not sure what."
Boulders at the red Monon bridge.
Inscription in the boulders at the red Monon bridge - "Schutt-Lookabill Co. Stone Work by J.K. Schrougham and Crew 4-8-1996"
"You talking about here?" asked Ed [pointing at picture of the Monon bridge over the canal]. That's not us. That was Greenways. If I remember correctly. All of that the Broad Ripple Village Association and Greenways did along the towpath along the...I call it the north bank, I don't know what you...it's north or west bank cause it's kinda running on a angle there, was done by Greenways. Now we have done some remediation in that area where there's been washout or where the...
I followed up, "There's been real bad erosion there at the sidewalk across the canal from the firehouse. The utilities are showing at times. I have pictures. All kinds of conduit there."
erosion on canal bank by Good Earth
Workers fixing the erosion back in 2009. The banks have since eroded again.
"That's not us," said Ed again. "We did not pour the hardscape. In other words, we..."
"Or put the utilities in the bank probably...," I added.
"No, that's correct," said Ed. "We actually discourage the hardscape and the reason we discourage the hardscape is exactly that. The hardscape creates runoff that then has to get somewhere and it was washing it out. So, when you do hardscape you've got to make sure you know where the water's going. We've actually remediated that area I think you're going to show us [in a picture]."
"Yeah, I think that has been redone," I said. "I was just curious as to what all of the pipes and electrical conduits are in there. Seems like a bad idea, that close to the bank."
"Yeah, those aren't ours," said Ed. "What happened there was because of the hardscape, it increased the erosion, naturally caused the runoff to come down this way and then it eroded, these utilities were right at the edge of the sidewalk and it washed them out. So we had to come back in and restabilize that area. That's what you see them doing there, in fact."
Westfield bridge over canal crumbling
End of Part Nine