Rebuilding after the floods

Richard Spencer, one of our senior project managers, gives us an update on how we're repairing our waterways after the Boxing Day floods.

As waterway-related sayings go ‘putting your ducks in order’ is a particularly appropriate one when it comes to explaining the approach to some of the biggest and most challenging projects in our ongoing flood response.

Colleagues, contractors and volunteers

Whilst we’ve been working with colleagues, contractors and volunteers to dredge affected lengths of canal, repair damaged towpaths and clean up dumped silt and rubbish, my team has also been busy behind the scenes putting key things in place so that we can get on with some of the major engineering projects needed to get things back to normal.

As a project manager this can be a fairly frustrating period; you’re itching to get out on site and make repairs so that the canal can be reopened for everyone to enjoy once more. This sense of frustration is heightened by the fact that you know local people may be feeling the same and want to see things happening.

However, as guardians of the waterways and a responsible neighbour, we have to do things the right way so that we don’t cause more damage or difficulty for adjacent landowners.

A complicated situation

The landslip, which has filled part of the Rochdale Canal, near Todmorden is a perfect example. It’s a particularly complicated situation given land ownership and concerns that there may be further movement in the slope. We’ve been liaising with local landowners, their insurers and legal teams to get the necessary agreements in place to be able to get in there and fully assess the situation and we’re pleased that those investigations have now started. Once we’ve got a better idea of what’s happening with the slope we can put together a plan for removing soil and rocks from the canal to reopen a navigable channel at the site and be able to give more certainty on when the canal in this area can reconnect Todmorden and Hebden Bridge.

This task of ‘putting our ducks in order’ has been replicated just along the canal, where works have started to repair the breach on the Rochdale Canal, and at Elland Bridge where careful demolition is also progressing well.  


So I’d like to say thanks for bearing with us, during what can be a frustrating period, while we put everything in place to get on with these major projects. While you may not have seen a throng of high-vis jackets at some of the affected sites this hasn’t meant that there’s been a lack of activity. Personally I’m delighted that we can crack on and I’ll be keeping you updated on the work.

Last date edited: 10 June 2016

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