ALBION — The Erie Canal will close to traffic Wednesday evening, bringing the navigation season to an end.

The canal will close to navigation at 5 p.m. All recreational and commercial vessel operators are advised to make sure they exit the canal before then.

The closure will allow the state Canal Corporation — along with its employees and contractors — to start working on a backlog of maintenance delayed by the COVID-19 shutdown, which occurred earlier this year, while the weather is still favorable, state officials said.

The schedule will also ensure the work is completed before the 2021 season, which is set to begin in May.

Beyond the early closure and delayed maintenance, the canal’s 2020 navigation season has been shorter than usual after the coronavirus outbreak delayed the opening statewide.

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