Pennine Waterways News

Thursday 30 July 2015

Emergency closure on Bridgewater Canal

The Bridgewater Canal is to be closed in Manchester between Egerton Street Bridge, Castlefield, and Cornbrook Road Bridge near Pomona Lock.

The canal is to be closed from midday tomorrow (31st July) until further notice.

The stoppage is to enable emergency demolition work next to the canal near Hulme Hall Bridge. The towpath will also be closed.

Part of the Excelsior Works away from the canal collapsed three days ago and it would appear that the whole building, which abuts the towpath, has been declared unsafe and is to be demolished.

This stoppage is on the arm of the Bridgewater Canal between Stretford and Manchester. The rest of the Bridgewater Canal is not affected.

No end date for the closure has been announced yet.

Update Friday 28th August:
From mid-day today (28th Aug) the navigation will be re-opened with a restricted channel. Boater should pass slowly and use the offside of the canal. The towpath remains closed.

The derelict Excelsior Works on the left of the Bridgewater Canal, near Hulme Hall Bridge.

Monday 27 July 2015

Poolstock Lock repair delayed

What at first appeared to be a straightforward problem at Lock 1 on the Leigh Branch of Leeds and Liverpool Canal has turned into a lengthy delay for boaters.

A week ago CRT staff closed the top lock of the two locks at Poolstock in Wigan, as the ground paddle culvert was leaking badly, affecting water levels on the main line of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal across nearby Wigan Junction.

For some reason CRT did not have the appropriate stop planks available and had to wait for more to be delivered. In the meantime CRT staff worked boats through the lock between 10 and 11 am over several days.

The new stop planks duly arrived and were installed on Friday and it was expected that the repairs would be carried out over the weekend.

However a further update issued today says that even with the stop planks in place they were unable to effect a water-tight seal to enable the work to be carried out. A temporary dam has now been ordered and will be installed in the next few days.

At this stage CRT are expecting the works will be completed on Friday and the lock will reopen on Saturday 1st August. An update should be issued tomorrow (28th July).

Update Tuesday 28th July:
The temporary dam will be installed on Thursday and will require a day to settle before work on the paddle sluice can start. Repair work will be carried out on Friday.

CRT anticipates that the canal will re-open on Saturday 1st August. A further update will be issued on Friday 31st July.

Update Friday 31st July:
Contractors will be removing the temporary dams tomorrow morning and CRT anticipates that the navigation will re-open around midday on Saturday 1st August.

Poolstop top lock, Leigh Branch of Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Friday 17 July 2015

CRT to go ahead with Marple Aqueduct fence

The Canal and River Trust has announced that it is to go ahead with controversial plans to erect a safety fence along the offside of historic Marple Aqueduct.

When the plans were put forward last December it was apparent that the idea of a safety fence on this Grade 1 Listed structure was unpopular and regarded by many as unnecessary. There are fences and warning signs at each end of the aqueduct.

The fence is to be erected along the off-side of the canal to protect people from falling 90 feet to the River Goyt below.

Marple Aqueduct

There was a public consultation period at the start of the year with a number of responses being submitted by organisations and individuals. 24 people responded to the consultation about the design of the fence.

CRT's David Baldacchino says that 69 people used the consultation process to express their concerns about installing a fence. He says that CRT thought very carefully about the objections presented. He says: "Taking full account of all factors involved the Trust has reluctantly decided that it is reasonable to install fencing to sensibly mitigate the risks that the Trust has to manage at this location."

Artist's impression of proposed safety fence

While CRT speaks of observations and anecdotes of people walking on the offside of the aqueduct we have only heard of one case of someone falling to their death in the aqueduct's 220 year history.

CRT's David Baldacchino says: "We’ve had to weigh up the risks to public safety whilst making sure any safety measures are sympathetic to the heritage of the structure. I understand that not everyone will be supportive of the installation of railings because of the important heritage aspects at the site. However, in addition to our public consultation, we have also sought expert advice from the Trust's navigation and heritage advisory groups, who both support action being taken, provided that we carefully develop a suitable design."

You can read more about the response to the consultation here.

Monday 13 July 2015

Wigan Flight stoppage

The Wigan lock flight on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal has been closed following damage to a lock gate.

The gate, at Lock 83, near the bottom of the flight, suffered "impact damage from a boat".

The flight is closed until further notice while CRT staff investigate the damage and design the repair.

An update will be issued on Tuesday 14th July. It is believed that this stoppage is not affected passage between the Leigh Branch and the canal west of Wigan. Boaters intending to travel between the Leigh Branch and the canal west of Wigan may wish to contact the Wigan office to confirm this.

Update Tuesday 14th July:
CRT has come up with several ideas for using the damaged gates until they can be repaired. These solutions will be tested tomorrow (Wednesday) to see if they will work safely. A further update will be issued tomorrow afternoon. CRT say they are working to get boats moving again as soon as possible. The impact damage means that the gates will need to be completely replaced in the winter.

Update Wednesday 15th July:
CRT has worked out a temporary method for letting boats through the lock flight until some sort of repair can be made to the gates. Boats travelling on the flight should arrive at Lock 65 or Lock 85 at 8.00 am. Once the boats present at 8.00 am have moved onto the flight, no further boats will be admitted. Boats will be assisted through Lock 83 by CRT staff (but not through other locks). The flight will then be locked until the next morning.

CRT will issue a further update indicating when they expect to carry out the temporary repairs to the gates.

Lock 83 at Wigan, Leeds and Liverpool Canal