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It’s Time to Build a Canal from Meredosia to Quincy

Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Having grown up in New York State, I lived literally on the Erie Canal in Rome, New York.  It’s a canal that connects the Hudson River at Albany, New York with Lake Erie at Buffalo, New York. It runs some 363 miles through central New York State. The concept to build the canal came in 1807 and construction began in 1817 with the canal opening officially on this day, October 26 in 1825.  Why do I mention this?

Because somewhere in the last decade, I had a spare moment and wondered why we don’t have a canal to connect the Illinois River at Meredosia to the Mississippi River at Quincy?  Think of the possibilities.  Construction jobs, more grain facilities, lock positions, convenience and cost savings for maritime companies are all reasons to look at the possibility.

In 1817 they used draft horses and humans to build the canal. To move the dirt, animals pulled a “slip scraper” (similar to a bulldozer). The sides of the canal were lined with stone set in clay, and the bottom was also lined with clay. All of the labor on the canal depended upon human and animal power or the force of water. They built the canal in 8 years covering 363 miles using their hands and horses.

So I ask the question, why wouldn’t we look into doing that here? With all the technology and machinery available today covering only 70 or so miles from Meredosia to Quincy would seem “easy” to do compared to what they did 190 years ago today.

Think of the jobs this would produce.  The revenue it would garner. And last, but not least, the pride this area would have once it was done. The economic boom would be significant. The only things stopping this from happening is money and right of way issues.  Who is going to pay for it. It always comes down to money. Could it pay for itself? Who knows.

It may never happen in my lifetime, but if and when it does, they better name it the “Dorsey Canal”. After all, it was my idea.

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