British Waterways has announced that the closed section of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal is to re-open in two stages, after the latest review of the reservoir levels.
The 40 mile section between Wigan and Barrowford will re-open on Friday 17th September. The remaining 20 miles from Barrowford to Gargrave will re-open on Wednesday 22nd September.
British Waterways staff are removing stop planks from above the Wigan, Johnsons Hillock and Blackburn lock flights in readiness for Friday's re-opening. Barrowford, Greenberfield, Bank Newton and Gargrave lock flights will re-open next Wednesday.
Restricted passage on the Wigan flight will resume as before the closure, i.e: ONE supervised passage starting at 10.00 am between Locks 65 (Wigan Top Lock) & Lock 85 (above junction with Leigh Branch. Any boats arriving after this time will have to wait until 10.00 am the following day for the next available passage.
Passage through other lock flights will be restricted to 9.00 am to 4.00 pm.
Vince Moran, operations director for British Waterways, says that the re-opening has been made possible by a significant increase in rainfall in the last two weeks.
He said, "We would like to express our sincere thanks to all of our customers, boating businesses and members of the public for their patience and understanding during this demanding time."
"While the canal has been closed we have been able to bring forward a number of projects which would otherwise have been carried out during the winter, including lock gate replacements and repairs and leak prevention works," said Mr Moran, adding that BW hopes to have a much reduced maintenance program on the canal throughout the Winter stoppage season.
Waterway manager Debbie Lumb said that three pairs of head gates have been installed (at Lock 44 Greenberfield, Lock 61 Johnson’s Hillock and Lock 65 Wigan Flight). In addition to the head gates being replaced, the tail gates, ground paddles and faulty masonry have been repaired or modified. Also wash wall repairs, by-wash maintenance and leak prevention works have been carried out.
Wigan Locks, Leeds and Liverpool Canal