Bridge too low for boats

Published: Friday, 25 September 2009

HOPES to restore the Sankey Canal have received a blow with a new bridge over the waterways giving around just four feet air draught.

The bridge in St Helens will  prevent boats from passing once the stretch of the waterway in the town centre is restored, with a row erupting with councillors blaming the constructors for ignoring the  Sankey Canal Restoration Society (SCARS) before starting work. The photograph is of the Sankey Canal at Newton-le-Willows.

Councillor Keith Roberts branded the construction 'ridiculous', saying it put back hopes of restoring the Sankey Canal through the town.

The bridge, which is close by he new St Helens Chamber building in the town centre, stands just a few feet above the surface of the water making passage along the canal impossible.

It was built by developers Langtree to create a walkway to the site of the proposed new Saints stadium.

Councillor Roberts told the council chamber:

"I think it's ridiculous to build a bridge that boats can't go under. We should support SCARS and look after our industrial heritage."

"Inland waterways are a growing industry. Cities like Manchester and Liverpool have made a real feature of them. There's every chance the Sankey Canal could be fully restored in the future."

It is now hoped that should the waterway be restored, the bridge could be raised.  However, it has been estimated that complete restoration of the Sankey Canal, that connects with the Mersey, would cost £80 millions.