The Erie Canal is a man made waterway that runs about 363 miles from the Hudson River at Albany to Lake Erie in Buffalo. It was built from 1817 to 1832 to complete a navigable water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. It opened on October 26, 1825. Versus carts pulled by draft animals, it cut transport costs by 95%, and also it was the first transportation system from the Eastern seaboard to the Great Lakes that did not require portage. The Erie Canal has several locks due to the change in elevation over its course.
Today the Erie Canal is used mainly for recreational boat use. However, in 2008, there was an increase in commercial traffic on the Erie Canal.