The 363-mile (584-kilometer) Erie Canal connects the Hudson River to Lake Erie. Opened in 1825, the canal created a new, shorter route from the northern interior of the United States to the Atlantic Ocean. Prior to the opening of the Erie Canal, goods traveled down the Mississippi River and out to the Atlantic. Since New York City lies on the Hudson River, the canal was responsible for the growth of the city as a major port, helping it to become the largest city in the United States. Once the St. Lawrence Seaway was built in 1959, the Erie Canal became rarely used, since most transportation soon traveled along the Seaway.