Sunday, February 13, 2011

Crowds flock to see work on the K&A Canal's million pound makeover

More than 200 visitors went to the British Waterways 'winters works' open day at Caen Hill in Devizes yesterday and they were able to watch a lock gate being craned into position. Many took a guided walk down the flight to Lower Foxhangers where there was a coach on hand to take them back

Draining canal reveals bank stability problem

Visitors have a guided tour of the bank damage: Pictures by Derek Milner©
Draining the canal on the Caen Hill Flight has brought to light serious stability problems with the banks which BW's contractors are tackling and Saturday's visitors were able to see just how much work is involved in keeping the world famous flight of locks in good condition.

Bicentenary year
200 years ago on December 31st 1810 saw the dawn of a new through route from Bristol to Reading when the first commercial vessels, two coal barges, ascended the Caen Hill Flight.  Unfortunately the 200th anniversary celebration year saw a very high number of unscheduled stoppages, so this winter BW are spending more than a million pounds on lock gate replacement and bank maintenance.

The replacement programme includes 12 sets of lock gates along the canal, including seven sets of bottom gates on the Caen Hill Flight.

Other maintenance work in progress is on 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 in Bath.

British Waterways operations director, Vince Moran, said, “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.”

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