Long life lock gates for Kennet & Avon Canal

Published: Thursday, 12 December 2019

THE  Canal & River Trust is to trial a set of new ‘long life’ lock gates on the Kennet & Avon Canal.

SteelWoodGateThese are currently being installed at Picketsfield Lock near Hungerford and are of composite material constructed with steel and timber.

Will last 50 years

Made predominantly out of steel, the innovative new gate design is intended to last at least twice as long as a standard lock gate, with an anticipated life span of over 50 years.

The robustness of the metal construction will reduce the need for repairs saving the Trust time and money and reducing disruption of course for boaters.

Sacrificial parts

The gates have been designed with sacrificial parts such as the sections where the gates meet to be watertight. But by being sacrificial they can be easily removed and replaced without draining the canal or removing the gates, that will bring environmental benefits by reducing the need to mobilise heavy plant and materials at often remote locations.

The gates at Picketsfield Lock retain the same paddle gearing, the same fixings and the same steel balance beam and so the proposed gate will resemble the gate that it is to replace giving boaters and visitors the look and feel of a ‘classic’ lock gate.

SteelWodd Gate2Stood the test of time

Richard Wakelen, Head of Asset Management explained:

“The canals were built over 200 years ago and it’s a testament to the original engineers that their designs have stood the test of time.  Now, with modern technology, we can trial some improvements that could make things better for boaters while making the best use of our resources.

"It’s exciting to be trialling something new and innovative on the canals and imagining that, in generations to come, engineers could be looking at our designs and building on them."