Where is Hazelhurst Bridge?
The historic Hazelhurst Bridge is on the mainline of the Caldon Canal, near Endon in Staffordshire.
Why did Hazelhurst Bridge collapse?
Unfortunately Hazelhurst Bridge was irreparably damaged in March 2020, following the dewatering of the canal upstream whilst we were repairing Hazlehurst Bottom Lock. Pressure built up behind the dam wall that was constructed close to the bridge's foundations, leading to water damage to the bridge foundations. The bridge then had to be demolished for safety reasons.
When will the bridge restoration work begin?
The £2 million project to rebuild the bridge, which has been enabled by an award from the Postcode Earth Trust, thanks to funds raised by players of People's Postcode Lottery, will take approximately 12 months is due to begin 15 August, it will take approximately 12 months, and is due to be completed August 2023.
Why is the Trust restoring Hazlehurst Bridge?
Hazelhurst Bridge is a Grade II Listed structure that provides vehicle and pedestrian access across the Caldon Canal for farmers, residents and liveaboard boaters. It also provides access for the Trust for maintenance work.
Will the new bridge look the same as the old one?
We have applied for Listed Building Consent to rebuild Hazelhurst Bridge. The new bridge's appearance would be in the spirit of the former structure, matching its former location, form, scale, and character, including using many of the original stone masonry copings.
Who will carry out the work?
Construction work will be carried out by the Trust's engineering contractor Kier.
Have ecological surveys been carried out ahead of the works to ensure local wildlife isn't affected?
Yes, we've undertaken a series of ecological surveys. There are no water voles or bats present in the area. We have found evidence of reptiles and have undertaken the necessary mitigation steps to protect them.
Will any trees need to be chopped down ahead of the works?
No large trees will be removed as part of the works. Some small saplings and vegetation will be cleared to facilitate construction access a site compound creation.
How long will the canal be closed for?
The canal will be closed from Monday 5 September 2022 to 6 April, some navigation restrictions will remain in place until 7 July. The closed section of the navigation will run from the junction with the Leek Branch (Hazlehurst Junction), running south east to Cheddleton Lock.
Will the Leek Branch be affected by the closure?
No, throughout the works, boaters navigating the Caldon Canal from its junction with the Trent & Mersey Canal at Stoke on Trent this autumn will be able to cruise to the furthest winding hole on the Leek Branch at Leek Fields, covering a distance of 11 miles, passing through nine locks and taking around seven hours.
How long will the towpath be closed?
The towpath in the vicinity of the works will be closed from 15 August 2022 to July 2023. The closed section of the towpath will run from the junction with the Leek Branch (Hazelhurst Junction), running south east to Hazelhurst Aqueduct. Towpath diversion signs will be in place.
Will there be any local footpath closures?
Yes, the Public Right of way on the access pathway toward the bridge from Leek Old Road will also be closed for the duration of the works. Maps indicating an alternative public footpath route will be displayed.
What is the Trust doing to support local moorers during the works?
Following an agreement with the local landowner, a new temporary car park area will be created for the moorers at Hazelhurst, and a temporary pedestrian bridge has been constructed across the canal to maintain access.
Is the Caldon Canal closure that has been in place since 1 August related to the works?
No, the navigation restrictions which started on 20 July were introduced as result of water shortages, and to protect flows on the Trent & Mersey Canal.
What will be the minimum headroom of the new bridge when the navigation reopens?
Although we plan to reopen the navigation at 5pm on 6 April, restrictions will remain in place until 7 July. There will be a restriction in height with 2100mm minimum height still available, equating to a reduction of around 300mm. Boaters will be allowed passage twice a day from 9am to 10am and from 1.30pm to 2.30pm Monday to Friday.
For boats travelling west, Kier staff will facilitate the operations of the adjacent lock so that boaters don't have to get off their boats. For boats travelling east, boaters should be able to operate the lock adjacent to themselves. Outside of construction hours, there will be free passage. Kier will leave the site safe for boaters to get off to operate the lock if going west, including over the Easter weekend. The towpath will remain closed from Hazelhurst Junction to Hazelhurst Aqueduct, however, boaters will be able to get on and off to operate all locks within this fenced section. Signage will be posted to advise boaters of these restrictions.
Where can people get more information?
You can get in touch with the team about the project by emailing [email protected] and there's a dedicated project page on the Trust's website at www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/hazelhurstbridge where regular updates will be added.