Pennine Waterways News

Friday 29 June 2018

Marple Locks shut for another week

Marple Locks on the Peak Forest Canal will remain closed for a further week.

During the week from 25th to 29th June, CRT have been jacking stones outwards at Lock 11 of the Marple lock flight, where movement had caused to lock to become too narrow.

A large number of the stones have been successfully moved and are now at 6ft 11in, the minimum required to allow 6’10’’ boats to pass through the lock.

However, some stones have not moved back enough to allow sufficient clearance, so it has been decided that some masonry should be planed to achieve the require width within the lock.

This will be carried out next week, starting 2nd July. The stoppage will be reassessed at the end of next week.

Update - 6th July
Message from CRT: "The works to jack back the chamber wall at Marple Lock 11 have been completed.  Unfortunately our monitoring has shown that the chamber wall moved (very slightly) overnight, so we want to continue monitoring over the weekend and into next week to ensure that it is safe, before we can re-open the lock to navigation (restricted to 6’10”)."

Update - 11th July
Lock 11 has been deemed safe to operate for boats up to 6’10” wide under assisted passage from 12th July. There will be assisted passage through this lock between 9.00 and 10.00 am on Thursday 12th July, then only between 3.00 and 4.00 pm each day.

Update - 23rd July
Further movement of the lock walls of Lock 11 have taken place and the lock flight has now been CLOSED until the lock walls can be rebuilt, which is likely to take a number of months. The locks would have had to be closed from August 13th anyway due to water shortage.

Tuesday 12 June 2018

Leeds and Liverpool Breach at Melling

The Leeds and Liverpool is closed at Melling after a culvert breached on Tuesday evening. This part of the canal is between Maghull and Aintree on the approach to Liverpool.

Nearby residents noticed the canal level dropping, with water disappearing into a hole near the side of the channel. Nearby fields are reported to have become flooded. Emergency services have dropped 650 sandbags into the canal in a bid to stem the flow although, as this is part of a 28 mile pound, a lot of water will escape until stop planks have been put in place.

There are reports of boats sitting on the canal bed. The extent of the damage to the culvert is not known at this time, nor how long it will be before this section of canal is navigable again.

Boaters with Liverpool Canal Link bookings will be contacted by CRT and kept updated. If you have a Liverpool Canal Link booking and need advice, please contact CRT on 03030 404040.

Update - 15th June:
CRT has obtained permission to access the canal across neighbouring land and are in the process of laying a track to get the necessary machinery to site. This should take one week to install. Dams will then be installed on either side of the collapsed culvert so that the damage can be assessed, and  the necessary repairs planned and started.

When CRT has established the severity of the damage, they will be able to estimate a timescale for the work. CRT's initial assessment is that the area will be closed for at least six weeks, although the situation is not thought to be as severe as Middlewich.

Update - 20th June:
CRT hopes to install the dams next Monday and Thursday. The Environment Agency has given permission to extract water from the River Alt, so CRT can start refilling the canal between Aintree and Liverpool, which may take some time. With the dams in place, work can begin on repairing the culvert.

Update - 28th June:
Next week, CRT will start to dig out the damaged culvert. It is hoped that the culvert can be replaced and the canal re-watered by the 3rd week in August.

Update - 1st August:
CRT today confirmed that the work on reconstructing the culvert is progressing in spite of minor problems and the canal is expected to re-open to navigation on 24th August.

Update - 24th August:
CRT today announced that the canal and towpath have re-opened.
Water escaping into a hole into the culvert on Tuesday evening. You can see from the reeds how much the water level had dropped by this time. Image: Lesley Lewis
Update - 13th June:
A dam has been created from sand bags at Bridge 10. This is the view downstream of Bridge 10 on Wednesday morning.
Canal near Bridge 10, Melling. Image: Les Nolan.

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Marple Lock 11 re-opens with strict limitations

The Marple Lock flight on the Peak Forest Canal has re-opened again but with strict limitations on the size of boats allowed through, and with very restricted passage times.

As a short-term measure, the Canal and River Trust has moved back the coping stones that had been causing pinch points. They are now looking at whether they can jack some of the stones back further down the chamber wall to create enough width for boats up to 6ft 10in wide to pass through safely.

Passage through Lock 11 will be supervised and will only be available between 9.00 and 10.00 am and between 3.00 and 4.00 pm.

There will be no width restriction for boats up to 45ft in length, but boats over 45ft must have a beam of 6ft 9in or less to be able to navigate through the lock.

If the jacking proposal mentioned above can be implemented this should make the lock navigable for longer boats over 6ft 9in wide but there is no date yet as to when this might be attempted, although CRT hopes to do so as soon as possible. This will not be satisfactory long-term solution so CRT staff are also undertaking further analysis and design to enable a more permanent repair to be developed.

Update - 15th June:
Boats over 45 ft long have still been getting stuck, even though they are only 6ft 9in beam. Therefore passage through Marple Locks is now restricted to boats up to 45 ft length ONLY.

The locks will be closed completely from 25th to 29th June while CRT carry out a temporary repair to Lock 11.

CRT says the aim of this temporary repair is to enable unrestricted passage through the summer whilst they prepare for a permanent solution to be delivered in the winter stoppage season. However, there is a risk that this temporary repair will not be successful, in which case the lock will remain closed until they are able to complete the permanent repair.

Lock 11 at Marple

Monday 4 June 2018

Marple Locks Closed Again

After been open for just over a week and following an 8-month stoppage, the Marple Lock flight on the Peak Forest Canal has been closed again.

As soon as the lock flight re-opened on 25th May, after a re-build of Lock 15, it became apparent that there was a new problem with Lock 11. Passage through the lock was restricted to times when CRT staff could assist boats through and a 6ft 10in maximum boat width imposed, but a number of boats were nevertheless still getting stuck.

CRT has reluctantly taken the decision to close the lock after more extensive problems were found than had been anticipated.

CRT engineers and project managers have been assessing things today (Monday) and work is ongoing to realign some of the copings by jacking them outwards. CRT will review the situation when this has been completed and decide whether or not to reopen the lock or if a more extensive repair is going to be needed.

CRT have said: "We know that this will be disappointing for people especially with the wait for the other work that that has happened at Marple. We believe that this is a new issue on the flight, not something longstanding. We want to assure everyone that we are doing everything that we can to reopen the lock as quickly as possible."

A further update is expected mid week.

Lock 11 at Marple