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  • Joint ASCE/BAPG Meeting - Geologic and Geotechnical Aspects of the Maid of the Mist Drydock Project

Joint ASCE/BAPG Meeting - Geologic and Geotechnical Aspects of the Maid of the Mist Drydock Project

  • January 21, 2015
  • 5:30 PM
  • Classics V 2425 Niagara Falls Blvd Amherst, NY 14228-3526


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Geologic and Geotechnical Aspects of the Maid of the Mist Drydock Project


Presenters: Michael J. Mann, P.E., James J. Janora, CPSWQ, CPESC

This presentation is eligible for 1 PDH.



The Maid of the Mist Corporation (MOTMC) has operated the iconic Maid of the Mist beneath Niagara Falls since the early 1900’s. The company provided trips from both the US and Canadian sides of the Niagara River. A dry dock, located on the Canadian side of the river, served as the winter storage and maintenance facility for the Maid of the Mist ships. The ships must be stored some 20 feet above the Lower Niagara River to protect them from the large amount of ice that builds up at the base of the Falls during the winter. The MOTMC recently lost the contract to provide trips from the Canadian side, requiring development of a new dry dock facility on the American side. The site of the former Schoellkopf Electric Power Plant, approximately one-half mile downstream of Niagara Falls, was selected as the new location.


The Schoellkopf Electric Power Plant was constructed in two parts; Station 3A was constructed between 1905 and 1914 and was the first alternating current electric generating facility in the US. Stations 3B and 3C were constructed between 1918 and 1924. A rock slide in 1956 destroyed Stations 3B and 3C, however, much of the Station 3A structure survived the rock fall including a stone wall covering the 200-foot high Niagara Gorge face and penstocks, the concrete tail race structure and an abandoned elevator shaft. Before the site could be considered as a viable location for the new facility, some fundamental issues had to be evaluated including: determining the cause of the 1956 rock slide that destroyed Stations 3B and 3C and whether the new facility could be protected from future rock falls, and, evaluating the condition and stability of the remnants of the 3A facility.  


This presentation describes the geotechnical considerations at the heart of  developing the new dry dock facility given the historical and geological conditions. It will outline other unique and interesting aspects of this project including the extremely tight construction schedule (work could not commence until April 2013 and the boats had to be out of the water by October 2013), unprecedented site access restrictions, and preserving the historic nature of the power plant remnants.

Michael J. Mann, P.E.

Mr. Mann received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Civil Engineering from the University at Buffalo. He is a licensed professional engineer in New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Ohio and has 35 years of professional consulting engineering experience. Mr. Mann and Donald R. McMahon formed McMahon & Mann Consulting Engineers in 1993. The firm is located on Main St. in Buffalo, New York and provides underground civil engineering services for public and private projects.


James J. Janora, CPSWQ, CPESC

Jim received a Bachelor of Science degree in Geological Sciences from SUNY Geneseo and has been a practicing engineering geologist for 9 years. Jim provides geological insight to a wide range of applied geotechnical engineering projects including earth dams and structures, earth and rock slope stabilization and stream bank stabilization. His professional interests include glacial and fluvial geomorphology.

ASCE and BAPG are grateful to Earth Dimensions for sponsoring this event.

**Please be sure to email the vice-president@bapg.org to cancel your registration if needed.  ASCE and BAPG are responsible for all no-shows.**

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