Figure of Three repair nearing completion

Published: Friday, 26 February 2021

A MAJOR £3 millions repair project at Figure of Three Lock on the Calder & Hebble Navigation is nearing completion.

The site was badly damaged by flood water overtopping from the Calder during the storms and floods in February last year and has been closed to navigation and towpath users for the past 12 months.  It is expected to reopen to both boats and people using the towpath this summer.

Drone footage

Due to Covid and safety restrictions, the Trust has been unable to open up the project to the public as it has with other works in the past, so it has released drone footage of how the work is progressing.

Sean McGinley, Director Yorkshire & North East, explained:

“Figure of Three was the most damaged structure across our 2,000 miles network following the February 2020 storms . It was heart-breaking to see the devastation on this historic waterway which turned 250 years old last year.

“It has been a major project to repair it and we’re grateful for the team effort to get where we are now, particularly considering the extra restrictions and issues that have been created by the coronavirus outbreak.

“We are really looking forward to having boats and walkers back on this beautiful stretch of canal again.”

More robust

With climate change expected to bring extreme weather events more often, the design of the works will be more robust and a new spillway capable of taking a larger water capacity has been added to help the structure withstand future flood events.

Listed building consent was necessary for the works, so reinforced concrete that strengthens the structure has been faced with masonry to maintain the heritage status, using as much of the old salvaged masonry as possible.

The area to the towpath side of the lock has been designed to take the flows in the event of the river overtopping, and the towpath itself has also been constructed more robustly.

Further flooding

Work has been affected by further flooding of the lock island in January, so a field drain was diverted and a drainage system installed to divert water around the works.  More recently snow and freezing temperatures have delayed concreting works.

The site compound is still fenced off with pedestrian barriers and fencing down near the embankment to prevent public access. To ensure pedestrian safety, barriers have also been placed across the towpath to prevent people from getting into the working areas.