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The Erie Canal in New York was built between 1817 and 1825. There are 363 miles from Albany to Buffalo in the canal. It was the longest artificial waterway and the greatest public works project in North America at the time. The canal transformed New York City into the nations principal seaport and opened the interior of North America to settlement. The Erie Canal is an engineering marvel. It was originally 4 feet deep and 40 feet wide. The Erie Canal made New York City the nation's busiest port, the most populous city, and the center of commerce and finance in the United States.