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Posted: January 24, 2016

Repairs could force Niagara Falls portion to run dry

By Cox Media Group National Content Desk

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Niagara Falls, a distinct collective of three waterfalls that straddle the border of the U.S. and Canada, will go dry in the next two or three years.

But it will only happen on the American side of the falls in New York.

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For some, this will be the second time in their lifetime that the falls have dried.

In 1969 researchers stopped the flow of water to study the effects of erosion and buildup of rock at the base of the falls. That year, people traveled from all over the world to see the landmark de-watered

According to The Buffalo News, the New York State parks system wants to halt the water on the American side of the falls to replace two 115-year-old stone arch bridges that allow pedestrians, park vehicles and utilities access to Goat Island. Officials have said the concrete bridges, built in 1901, are deteriorating. A renovation would improve safety and the overall look of the popular site.

In 2004, the concrete arch bridges were closed and temporary truss bridges were put in place for parkgoers to cross over the rapids. Ten years later, the temporary bridges, which block views of the falls and are aesthetically unappealing for visitors, are still in place. 

Officials now want to replace the two stone arch bridges, a project that could take five to nine months and would cost between $21.6 million and $37.3 million, The Buffalo News reported. 

"The biggest problem is coming up with the money to do this," said Niagara Falls historian Tom Yots. "These beautiful bridge designs go back to the beginning of the 20th century."

The park system's proposal will be presented at a public hearing Wednesday at the Niagara Falls Conference Center. 

If approved, a cofferdam would be imposed to stop water from flowing on the American side and redirect it to flow down the Canadian side. About 85 percent of the Niagara River flows over Horseshoe Falls in Ontario, and 15 percent flows over the American Falls in New York. 

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