Thames works get under way
It isn’t just the canal system where a programme of winter work has begun – the Environment Agency is spending £1.4m on lock overhauls on the River Thames, including gate refurbishment and replacement of timber buffering.
On the reaches above Oxford, Shifford Lock is closed from 30 October to 16 January; on the middle river Clifton Lock near Abingdon shuts from 2 January to 23 March, and on the lower lengths a stoppage at Bell Weir Lock near Egham runs from 13 November to 15 December.
The longest stoppage is at Blakes Lock in Reading (run by the EA’s Thames Region even though it is on the River Kennet) involving work on the chamber and gates, cutting off access to the Kennet & Avon through from 13 November to 23 March. “The work we are doing at Blakes Lock is extensive, and very complex, but only needs to be done once in a generation,” explained Waterways Manager Barry Russell. “It will keep the lock in good working order for another 30 years or more.”
Teddington Barge Lock is also scheduled for work, but as the locks are paired and the adjacent Old Lock remains in use, there will be no closure. And work scheduled for Molesey Lock has been postponed to the following winter.