Floods: count­ing the size­able cost

Canal Boat - - News -

The flood wa­ters may have re­ceded, but there’s a lot of work to be done to get the Pen­nine wa­ter­ways fully up and run­ning again

AN AP­PEAL FOR do­na­tions, a call for vol­un­teer sup­port, a se­ries of bids for Govern­ment cash and an as­sess­ment of the dam­age and the work needed are all in progress as the Canal & River Trust faces the chal­lenge of re­pair­ing and re-open­ing the Pen­nine wa­ter­ways af­ter the floods of late De­cem­ber.

The ini­tial re­sponse to the floods, in which there was se­ri­ous dam­age to the Rochdale Canal, Aire & Calder Nav­i­ga­tion and Calder & Heb­ble Nav­i­ga­tion, was to con­cen­trate on mak­ing the wa­ter­ways safe and deal­ing with haz­ards to tow­path users. By the first full week in Jan­uary the Trust was able to be­gin a full in­spec­tion of most of the wa­ter­ways af­fected and to start plan­ning re­pairs – and think­ing about the costs and where the money would come from.

On the Calder & Heb­ble Nav­i­ga­tion the big­gest job will be at El­land Bridge where flood wa­ter washed away the tow­path and caused move­ment of the bridge to the point where wa­ter mains frac­tured and washed out the en­tire in­fill over the arch. It has now been agreed by her­itage bod­ies that the Grade 2 listed struc­ture can be taken down and com­pletely re­built.

Most of the other dam­age on the C& H is also on the up­per sec­tion, in­clud­ing se­vere dam­age to Crowner Bridge, ero­sion of lock­sides at El­land and Park Nook locks, em­bank­ment dam­age where the river over­flowed into canal sec­tions, and tow­path washouts and dam­age to banks. Fur­ther down­stream there is an em­bank­ment washout at Fig­ure of Three Locks.

The Rochdale Canal has suf­fered along much of the length be­tween Sowerby Bridge and Tod­mor­den. Ma­jor prob­lems in­clude a land­slip block­ing the canal near Lock 15, dam­age to a nar­row em­bank­ment be­tween the river and canal which came close to breach­ing near Callis Mill, and the foot of an­other nearby em­bank­ment washed out by the river. Many sec­tions of tow­path and canal wall were washed out. The di­a­gram op­po­site shows just one sec­tion.

On the Aire & Calder Nav­i­ga­tion, Knos­trop Weir below Leeds was com­pletely washed away and the lock is­land dam­aged, with a num­ber of boats washed down­stream to Fish­pond Lock (one was still miss­ing and pre­sumed sunk as we went to press).

On the York­shire Ouse there was be­lieved to be dam­age at Lin­ton Lock and Bor­ough­bridge but, in late Jan­uary, the river lev­els were only just drop­ping enough to per­mit in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

And fi­nally, on the Leeds & Liverpool there was only mi­nor dam­age other than a land­slip into the Springs Branch which oc­curred sev­eral days later; while Stain­ton Aqueduct on the Lan­caster failed be­fore the main floods – see page 6 for more on both of th­ese in­ci­dents.

Those are the ob­vi­ous jobs, but there is other less vis­i­ble work needed – pri­mar­ily dredg­ing of silt brought down by flood wa­ter. In par­tic­u­lar, the

Em­bank­ment eroded by river near Stub­bins

Land­slip block­ing canal at Shaw Wood

Length of tow­path washed out at Fig­ure of Three Locks

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