Pennine Waterways News

Friday 12 December 2008

Ashton Canal finally re-opens

The Ashton Canal has finally re-opened to through navigation after being closed following damage to the gate of Lock 17.

The canal was closed on 15th October after damage to the gate caused its operation to be considered dangerous. British Waterways staff investigated whether it could be quickly repaired but found that a new gate was required. A new gate was ordered to be manufactured as soon as possible.

British Waterways issued a stoppage notice warning that the canal was likely to remain closed for at least a week. However the stoppage was extended several times due to various delays.

On Nov 14th BW announced that the replacement gate has been manufactured and delivered to the local depot. Work to install the gate was to start the following week with the canal expected to re-open on 28th November. However, on 28th November, BW announced that work had been delayed "due to unforseen circumstances" and that the canal should be re-opened by 10th December. Following a further delay the canal was finally re-opened on 12 December.

The stoppage affected boaters doing the Cheshire Ring and the South Pennine Ring. It caused potential difficulties for boaters attempting to reach places before the winter stoppage programme began on 3rd November. Some concern has been expressed about the length of time taken to complete this repair on the Ashton Canal compared with the speedy repairs that are carried out on more popular canals further south.

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