The ice boom holds back a massive layer of ice at Lake Erie’s eastern edge, Friday, April 18, 2014. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

The thickness of the Lake Erie ice pack is so great that a 77-ton ice breaker has been brought in to break up the ice in order to remove the ice boom.

The ice in some places is three feet thick, according to Lou Paonessa, director of media relations at the power authority.

That’s why the William H. Latham is now breaking up the ice.

A 10-member power authority crew working from a barge platform began removing the ice boom on Tuesday, but those efforts have been complicated by high winds and the stubborn ice pack. The crew Wednesday was forced to skip sections of the boom because of the ice mass.

Each winter since 1964, the power authority has installed the ice boom, which extends from the outer breakwater at Buffalo Harbor almost to the Canadian shore.

By Monday the ice mass was down to 240 square miles, Paonessa said.

Work continues today, Paonessa said.


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