North-west link shut un­til June

BRIDGEWATER CANAL

Canal Boat - - News -

A DE­LAYED STOP­PAGE on the Bridgewater Canal will cut off Lan­caster and the west end of the Leeds & Liver­pool un­til June – un­less boaters ei­ther cross the Pen­nines twice or make an ad­ven­tur­ous tidal pas­sage.

The stop­page is to en­able Vicar’s Hall Bridge to be re­built to heavy goods ve­hi­cle stan­dards in con­nec­tion with a hous­ing de­vel­op­ment by the canal’s own­ers Peel Hold­ings. Orig­i­nally planned for 31 Oc­to­ber 2016 to 24 Fe­bru­ary 2017, de­lays have led to it be­ing post­poned to run from 13 Fe­bru­ary to 16 June.

Sit­u­ated west of Wors­ley on the canal’s Leigh Branch, the bridge’s clo­sure cuts off the link from the Bridgewater to the Leeds & Liver­pool Canal (and thus to the Liver­pool Link (pic­tured), Rib­ble Link and Lan­caster Canal). The only ways around the stop­page are:

Via the Leeds & Liver­pool Canal across the Pen­nines from Leeds, which is limited to a 62ft boat length and will mean a long de­tour.

By cross­ing the Mersey es­tu­ary from the Manchester Ship Canal at Eastham Locks, in­volv­ing a tidal cross­ing that some in­land craft may be un­suited to.

The In­land Wa­ter­ways As­so­ci­a­tion has writ­ten to Peel, urg­ing Peel to con­sider con­struc­tion meth­ods which could shorten the stop­page, or fail­ing that to post­pone it un­til next win­ter.

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