New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_Dn_Bc94
The Barge Canal cost $170 million by the time it was finished. Big barges carried cargos of wheat, molasses, fertilizer, wood, sugar, oil, and cars up and down the Barge Canal. In 1951, commercial traffic on the Barge Canal reached its height. After that, traffic declined because competition from railroads and highways increased.