Pennine Waterways News

Wednesday 12 October 2016

Rochdale Re-opens

The re-opened channel near Todmorden. Photo: Canal & River Trust

The Rochdale Canal has re-opened to through navigation this week after being closed by a landslip near Todmorden since the end of last year.

The flooding on Boxing Day 2015, caused when a massive amount of water from the River Calder overtopped into the Rochdale Canal and the Calder & Hebble Navigation, left behind major clean-up operations and a number of complex engineering projects, including the re-building of Elland Bridge.

The Trust, helped by hundreds of volunteers, has been working hard ever since to clear thick layers of mud and silt from popular walking routes, rebuild damaged canal walls, repair scoured towpaths and remove litter and other debris dumped on paths, lock sides and even in trees.

Some of the most severe damage was around Todmorden where the powerful floodwaters washed away a 15m section of canal bank allowing water to drain out of the canal onto nearby allotments.

Since then contractors have been hard at work filling the void in the bank, repairing the canal walls, relining the bed of the canal and reinstating the towpath. The Trust has also restored the allotments so that they can be enjoyed once more.

The local community played an important role in the repairs with the local allotment group giving up their time over Christmas to put sandbags in place to create a temporary canal bank and reduce water loss.

Also near Todmorden a landslip blocked the canal with earth, trees and debris from adjoining land. With the help of local residents who gave permission for access onto their land, the Trust has been able to clear the canal. Specialist contractors installed steel piling along the edge of the canal to protect the slope whilst the earth and debris was removed.

David Baldacchino, waterway manager for the Canal & River Trust, said; "We’re delighted that the canal can be reopened. It’s a really significant moment for boaters and the local community.

"It’s been a long, hard year and the repairs we were left with to get this 200 year old canal back up and running were far from straightforward. Almost overnight we were faced with a number of really challenging and complex engineering projects.

"In so many cases local people have been really helpful - whether by allowing access onto their land or, as in the case of the allotment group at the breach site, rolling their sleeves up and helping us out – and I’m just so pleased that they now have their canal back."
The landslip near Todmorden at the end of 2015. Photo: Canal & River Trust