Marple work un­der way


Canal Boat - - News -

WITH Marple Locks part way through what has now turned into a six and a half month clo­sure for emer­gency re­pairs to a cham­ber wall at Lock 15, the Canal & River Trust is taking ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­nity to carry out a pro­gramme of works also cov­er­ing other locks on the flight of 16 – with much of the £2.5m cost be­ing found from the Peo­ple’s Post­code Lot­tery’s con­tri­bu­tion to CRT.

Lock­side sub­si­dence spot­ted in early Septem­ber led to a clo­sure of the lock, where in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed that the stone-built cham­ber wall on the tow­path side had moved, mak­ing the lock too nar­row to op­er­ate safely. With a com­plete re­build needed, the clo­sure was ex­tended to mid-March and CRT be­gan plan­ning the work. Fol­low­ing an ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sur­vey, the wall is to be dis­man­tled, the ground sta­bilised, a buried con­crete re­tain­ing wall in­stalled, and the orig­i­nal stonework then re­built. By late Jan­uary, al­though “great progress” on site was re­ported, hav­ing re­viewed the “very com­plex” work needed in a con­fined site, the Trust put back the opening date by an­other fort­night.

Mean­while new gates are be­ing in­stalled at Locks 1 and 13, mi­nor works car­ried out on the canal and tow­path at var­i­ous places on the flight, and the new off­side rail­ings in­stalled on Marple Aqueduct. Fol­low­ing con­tro­versy re­gard­ing this ad­di­tion to a his­toric struc­ture, CRT is us­ing what it de­scribes as a “be­spoke so­lu­tion” fol­low­ing dis­cus­sions with His­toric Eng­land, which will see a ‘cot­ton weave’ form of rail­ings “de­signed to form a sym­pa­thetic and last­ing ad­di­tion to the struc­ture”.

The tar­get reopen­ing date is now 29 March, just in time for Easter.

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