Plank Lane Lift Bridge, on the Leigh Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, is to be open for fewer hours each day.
British Waterways is having to identify areas where money can be saved. This lift bridge has to be manned during all opening hours and this currently involves the use of overtime. A reduction in the operating hours of the bridge will free a significant sum of money which can be re-directed into essential maintenance works.
From June, the bridge will be open to navigation only during the following hours:
• June 2010 08.30 am to 4.30 pm
• July 2010 08.30 am to 6.00 pm
• August 2010 08.30 am to 6.00 pm
• September 2010 08.30 am to 4.30 pm
This is a trial and the opening hours will be reviewed in October.
Debbie Lumb, BW's North West Manager, said that she appreciates that this is a substantial reduction in the opening hours and it may cause some inconvenience to those travelling in the area. However, she said must balance the cost of staffing the bridge against the works needed elsewhere.
She added that BW is currently reviewing the benefits of utilising volunteers to meet a range of core duties. In the near future, BW hopes that volunteers can help to man locks and bridges. If BW can secure the volunteer commitment for Plank Lane Lift Bridge, it is possible that the bridge can revert to longer opening hours in the future.
Anyone interested in finding out more about how to get involved with this should contact BW in Wigan on 01942 405700.
BW in Wigan welcomes feedback by phone or email on how these reduced opening hours affect boaters.