New gates in place at Lock 10, Ashton Canal
The Ashton Canal is to re-open on Sunday 27th July following a stoppage of over three weeks after a boat seriously damaged a gate at Lock 10 (Vinegar Lock).
New gates had to be made at Stanley Ferry and these have now been fitted. They are 6 metres high as Lock 10 is the deepest narrow lock in the country, with a rise of 4.22 metres (13ft 10in). New wooden cills have been fitted to make the bottom of the gates water-tight.
Canal and River Trust staff have been fitting the balance beams and paddle gear. (The hydraulic paddle gear, considered inappropriate by some, is being re-fitted.)
Fenders will then be fitted to the gates and an engineering inspection carried out. If that goes well, work to dismantle the work site will take place on Saturday. This will involve removing safety scaffolding from the lock and the heavy duty security fencing that has been erected around the lock.
The canal should then be re-opened to navigation on Sunday morning (27th July).
It is not clear how the damage occurred as the impact appeared to have been at normal water level. However, when canal staff arrived at the scene there was a boat trapped in the lock and the pound below the lock was very low, so one theory being suggested is that the boater may have been attempting to flush the boat from the lock, with the water causing the gate to close just as the boat surged forward.
It is understood that the gates were around 20 years old and should have been good for a few more years. However, the damage was such that repairs could not be carried out in situ, so with the expense involved in removing and refitting the gates, it was more economical to replace them now rather than remove them for repair and then replace them with new gates in a few years time.
The Ashton Canal is part of the popular Cheshire Ring and also the South Pennine Ring , so the stoppage has meant that many hirers and others planning to navigate these rings have had to change their plans.
Lock 10, showing portable gantry still in place and safety scaffolding.
Below Lock 10, with the work boats used to transport the gates and equipment.