Boaters on the Shropshire Union Canal are to benefit from a £250,000 upgrade to three listed lock flights near Market Drayton
Our maintenance staff have braved daily downpours, storms and mud to work on the Tyrley, Adderley and Audlem lock flights on the Shropshire/Staffordshire border - a total of 25 locks.
They are battling through horrendous weather and ground conditions to refurbish or replace eight sets of lock gates, replace and re-work 14 lock ladders and carry out vital masonry repairs and ground stabilisation work.
The canal has had to be drained in certain sections to allow scaffolding and lifting equipment to be installed and lock gates, weighing several tonnes, to be craned in and out. Other existing gates have been strengthened and repaired to create a water tight seal – essential for the smooth operation of the navigation.
"We are used to having to deal with ice and snow but the ground has turned to a quagmire and we’re often knee deep in mud." Kevin Walker
Kevin Walker, a project manager with the Canal & River Trust, said: “This major refurbishment programme started just after Christmas and our staff have been turning out in terrible weather to keep the project on track. The constant rain has made working conditions particularly challenging. We are used to having to deal with ice and snow but the ground has turned to a quagmire and we’re often knee deep in mud.
“It is greatly to the credit of our fantastic staff that everything is still on plan to finish the repair project and re-open the canal on 11th March. This means that all the canal will be back in water and open for navigation again in good time for Easter and the start of the 2016 main boating season.”