No hurry with the four repairs

Published: Saturday, 27 February 2021

THERE seems to be a complete lack of urgency by Canal & River Trust over the four major stoppages that affect the canals.

There is little hurry to get them completed as Keith Gudgin reports.

It is understood that coronavirus has some impact, but there is a good chance of the restrictions being lifted and both boaters, and particularly hire companies, will be in haste to get out on the waterways once more with the new season shortly upon us.

Trent & Mersey

The landfall blocking the Trent & Mersey at Soot Hill near Anderton occurred way back on the 21st January, but here we are over five weeks later and all we are advised is that 'our teams continue to work together to discuss suitable methods to be able to safely repair the significant slip of material from third party owned land'.

All we can look forward to is an update on Friday 12th March, with the waterway remaining closed.

Shropshire Union Canal

The breach on the Shropshire Union Canal between locks 10 and 11 at Beeston also occurred on the 21st January and is also taking time to repair.

But at last an access road has been completed and the dam is in place, so all is set to go.  But alas no, we are informed that 'we anticipate works to repair the breach will start in approximately three weeks time'.

The waterway of course remaining closed.

Caldon Canal

The leakage on the Caldon Canal occurred on the 15th February, closing the waterway between Ivy House Road Lift Bridge and Bucknall Road bridge 'for investigation purposes'.

The waterway was of course closed and dams inserted to be able to dewater and inspect its bed.  It was discovered that work would be required to stop the leakage before it can be refilled and once more opened to navigation.

But again it will take over four weeks, with the interim date of the 29th March given for its reopening.

Grand Union Canal

It was on the 9th February that the Grand Union Canal was closed with the failure of Winkwell Swing Bridge (147) at Hemel Hempstead.

Yet it is only today, Saturday 27th February 'that specialist contractors will be undertaking a works inspection'.

After the furore from boaters stuck at this popular location, the trust has decided to allow the boats to pass through between 10 am and 11am when the bridge will be manually operated.

Then it will be closed, and will remain so 'as major works are required'.