Thursday, November 11, 2010

Million pound make-over for K&A Canal locks

British Waterways is working on a million pound lock gate replacement and maintenance programme on the Kennet & Avon Canal this winter.

A lock gate being craned into position 
on the Devizes Flight last Winter.
Picture by Bob Naylor
In the canal's 200th anniversary year, which has had a high number of unscheduled stoppages because of lock problems, BW is working on much-needed maintenance to ensure that the canal can be protected for future generations. 

BW are  replacing 12 sets of lock gates along the canal, including seven sets of gates at Caen Hill, where the flight of locks is a scheduled ancient monument. 

Gates will also be replaced at Wootton Rivers, Heathy Close, Dunmill and Cadley Lock.

The gates are hand crafted at BW's workshops and when the lock gates are craned into position on-site, the local BW team will install them and make final adjustments to make them fit perfectly.

There will be open days on the Caen Hill Flight so that people can get a closer look at the hidden workings of the waterways and to see the massive task that maintenance of the canals is.

Vince Moran, British Waterways’ operations director, said: “The recent announcement that England and Wales’ canals and rivers are to become part of a new ‘national trust’ for the waterways will give the public a much greater role in looking after this important part of the nation’s heritage.  I hope opening up some of our lock gate replacements and other repairs will give people along the Kennet & Avon Canal a chance to see the scale of the work we do to ensure that the waterways are preserved for today’s users and future generations, as well as gain an appreciation for the magnificent industrial heritage in our care.”
Kennet & Avon Canal Winter Works
Other maintenance works that will take place this winter include work at Martinslade Embankment (between Sells Green and Foxhangers), installation of weir booms on the River Avon, dredging work around Hungerford and Newbury and works to the iron bridges and chimney in Bath. 

Winter Works Open Day at Caen Hill
Saturday 12th February 10.30am – 3.30pm, to include walking tours. More details to follow.

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