The work, which has been carried out over the winter months, forms part of our major five-month £45 million maintenance programme to improve the 2,000 miles of canals and rivers we care for across England and Wales.
Over the last few months our engineers have been busy replacing the top lock gates at Iron Bridge Lock and the bottom set of gates at Hunton Bridge Lock. After 25 years of service, allowing countless boats up and down the canal, the old gates had come to the end of their working life and needed replacing.
The new made-to-measure lock gates, which each weigh several tonnes, are handcrafted from seasoned oak so that they fit perfectly in the lock chamber. Now in place, the new gates are expected to be in place for a quarter of a century, and help us conserve water and keep boats moving along the waterway.
Neil Owen, from the Trust, said: “The Grand Union Canal is a real waterway gem, but the canal is over 200-years old so needs plenty of looking after. The locks along the canal in Watford are really popular and over time they have suffered from wear and tear so we have to replace the gates every so often.
Keeping the canal running requires constant maintenance, so we’ve used this winter period, when there are fewer boats travelling on the canal, to get as much done as we can.”