Summer may be on the horizon but we’re still dealing with the aftermath of the Boxing Day floods in the Calder Valley and there has been real progress recently with some of the larger, more challenging engineering projects.
The good news is that a further section of the Rochdale Canal reopened to boats ahead of the recent Bank Holiday weekend. The canal is now available for use from Hebden Bridge to the winding point at Bridge 24 just above Lock 14 near Todmorden.
The next section of waterway to reopen will be the Calder & Hebble Navigation at Elland and Crowther Bridges where work is being undertaken to open the canal allowing people to navigate out of the Rochdale Canal onto the rest of the network.
Both bridges were so badly damaged by the force of the floodwaters that they need to be carefully dismantled and completely rebuilt. It’s a delicate job and we’re removing as many of the interesting features as possible so that they can be reused in the new bridges. It’s taken slightly longer than anticipated to install the temporary dams at Crowther Bridge which has pushed our programme back by a day or so. We’re now aiming to reopen the canal to boats by 4 July although are working hard to make up the time and reopen at the end of June as originally planned – we’ll provide an update nearer the time.
One of the areas worst affected was around Todmorden on the Rochdale Canal. Here a section of canal wall was washed out causing the canal to breach. Works have recently started to repair the breach, rebuild 250 metres of collapsed wash wall and carry out repairs to Woodhouse Weir. The project will cost around £700,000 and is expected to be completed in August.
Nearby, a landslip also caused the surface of a slope to slide down on and into part of the canal, blocking the way with earth, trees and debris and damaging the canal.
Since then the Trust has been liaising with the owners of the slope, with a view to reopening the canal as quickly as possible.
Whilst discussions continue regarding insurance, one of the landowners has, in the meantime, agreed to grant permission for us to access the slope. This means that we can help with the important job of assessing whether the damage caused has resulted in any further movement of the land.
These investigations have started and as soon as we know how stable the slope above the canal is then remedial work and clean-up plans will be implemented.
We’d like to thank everybody in the area for their patience and would ask them to please bear with us a little longer given the precarious nature of the situation.
Elsewhere, works have been taking place to dredge both the Rochdale Canal and the Calder & Hebble Navigation, regrout Lock 2 on the Rochdale Canal, repair a number of culverts and carry out temporary repairs at Stainton Aqueduct on the Lancaster Canal. At the same time our fantastic volunteers continue to give their time generously to repair and restore towpaths across the Calder Valley.
Read more about the repairs in our project manager's blog.