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The annual inspection of New York’s canal system began in Buffalo Tuesday as the Tug Syracuse departed from Erie Canal Harbor for the first leg of the tour between Buffalo and Lockport.

The inspection will be conducted during the next two months in two- and three-day segments along the 524 miles of the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca waterways, the State Canal Corp. announced.

The inspection team grades locks and lift bridges and gives awards for top performance later this year.

“This inspection is an important opportunity to gauge the overall condition of the canals firsthand but also to recognize the excellence of our staff for their maintenance of this national treasure,” said Howard P. Milstein, chairman of the New York State Thruway Authority and Canal Corp.