Last week, we explained in our Cities 101 column why the ice on the Hudson River flows both ways, and today we’ll show you how the ice gets broken up to clear a channel for barges. This video by The New York Times shows a Coast Guard ice cutter, the Sturgeon Bay, at work near Germantown, New York in the Hudson River Valley to free two trapped boats. More than freeing ships, clearing the channel allows for the delivery of critical items via barge like heating oil, road salt and other winter supplies.
The Sturgeon Bay is about 37 feet wide, says Lieutenant Ken Sauerbrunn, the commander of the ice cutter in the video, but the channel needs to be about 100 to 150 feet wide. This means the Sturgeon Bay has to make multiple passes. Like we explained in our last Cities 101, the Hudson River is really unpredictable, confirms Sauerbrunn. In addition to than the tides, for the Coast Guard team, snow cover concealing the track and winds shifting the ice, makes the job a daily challenge.
Read more about how the city works in our Cities 101 column.