Despite the many studies on flow in partly obstructed open channels, this issue remains of fundamental importance in order to better understand the interaction between flow behavior and the canopy structure. In the first part of this study we suggest a new theoretical approach able to model the flow pattern within the shear layer in the unobstructed domain, adjacent to the canopy area. Differently from previous studies, the new analytical solution of flow momentum equations takes into account the transversal velocity component of the flow, which is modelled as a linear function of the streamwise velocity. The proposed theoretical model is validated by different experiments carried out on a physical model of a very large rectangular channel by the research group of the Department of Civil, Environmental, Building Engineering and Chemistry of the Technical University of Bari. An array of vertical, rigid, and circular steel cylinders was partially mounted on the bottom in the central part of the flume, leaving two lateral areas of free flow circulation near the walls. The three-dimensional flow velocity components were measured using a 3D Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter. A comparison of the measured and predicted data of the present study with those obtained in other previous studies, carried out with different canopy density, show a non-dependence of this analytical solution on the array density and the Reynolds number. In the second part of the paper, detailed observations of turbulent intensities and spanwise Reynolds stresses in the unobstructed flow are analyzed and discussed. Differently from some earlier studies, it was observed that the peak of the turbulence intensity and that of the spanwise Reynolds stress are significantly shifted toward the center of the shear layer.

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