Thames works get un­der way


Canal Boat - - News -

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.

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