Canal clo­sure leaves boats high and dry

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

HUN­DREDS of boats were left stranded af­ter the emer­gency clo­sure of two stretches of canal.

The Canal & River Trust, which man­ages the wa­ter­ways, has shut Mac­cles­field Canal near Bolling­ton af­ter a leak flooded the re­cre­ation ground.

Mean­while, a sec­tion of the Peak For­est Canal at Marple Locks, near to the junc­tion with the Mac­cles­field Canal, is blocked be­cause of a bro­ken lock gate. The clo­sures mean that around 200 boats have been iso­lated from the rest of the canal net­work since Fri­day.

En­gi­neers are work­ing to re­solve the prob­lems.

The prob­lems on the Mac­cles­field Canal are out­side Clarence Mill.

As a tem­po­rary emer­gency mea­sure, stop planks have been in­serted ei­ther side of the leak.

Be­tween Satur­day and Tues­day the Trust res­cued around 1,000 pounds of fish be­fore fully drain­ing the canal and start­ing the in­spec­tion.

En­gi­neers are ex­pected to start re­pairs on Wed­nes­day and will close the tow­path be­tween bridges 26 and 27 to al­low ac­cess of ma­chin­ery.

They can­not say with any cer­tainly when the canal will be re­opened.

The Peak For­est Canal re­opened on Tues­day.

David Bal­dacchino, Canal and River Trust wa­ter­way man­ager, said: “At Bolling­ton, our teams have been mon­i­tor­ing a leak to the canal out­side Clarence Mill and wa­ter is now seep­ing into the re­cre­ation ground be­low.

“As a tem­po­rary emer­gency mea­sure, stop planks have been in­serted ei­ther side of the leak and a short sec­tion of the canal is be­ing drained over the week­end so our en­gi­neers can as­sess the dam­age early next week.

“A sec­tion of the tow­path next to the drained area may be closed while re­pair work is be­ing car­ried out.

“The orig­i­nal canal struc­ture here is clay laid on rock. The canal net­work is more than 200 years and inevitably leaks of this type do oc­cur from time to time.

“Trust en­gi­neers will be work­ing hard to re­pair the prob­lem as quickly as pos­si­ble so the canal can be re-opened to boaters.

“Fur­ther news will be avail­able af­ter the en­gi­neers’ in­spec­tion.

“Around 200 boats were iso­lated from the rest of the canal net­work due to th­ese two is­sues.

“Canal & River Trust staff are li­ais­ing with boaters to keep them in­formed of de­vel­op­ments.

“We will re-open both canals as speed­ily as we can.”

Tim Bod­ding­ton

●● The drained canal in Bolling­ton

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