Canals are man-made waterways. The Erie Canal was built to connect the waters of Lake Erie in the west and the Hudson River in the east. Proposals for its construction were aimed at improving access to the West by creating a cheaper, faster, and safer route for the transport of people and cargo. Initial proposals sought to connect the Hudson to Lake Ontario, but this was later revised to reach Lake Erie, and its construction began in 1817.
After completion of the canal, the Erie Canal provided cheaper transport, especially for bulk goods. The canal provided the first transportation system that did not require the moving of cargo or watercraft over land by connecting the western interior to the east coast.
The Erie Canal was completed in 1825 and opened the same year. However, its use started much earlier with the completion of the different sections of the waterway.