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News article created on 19 January 2015

Canals in the North West set for £1.3 million repairs

We're spending £1.3 million in vital maintenance work on canals in Greater Manchester and Cheshire this winter.

We're renovating 15 historic sluices, culverts and weirs, which help to manage water levels on the region’s canals.

With many dating back to when the canals were built, over 200 years ago, each mechanism is unique and needs a bespoke solution from our engineers to bring them up to date for the 21st Century.

Safeguarding dozens of homes

The work involves repairs to structures along the Trent & Mersey, Manchester, Bolton & Bury, Macclesfield, Ashton and Rochdale canals. It will also include a major project to strengthen 340 metres of canal walls and embankments between Marple and Disley on the Peak Forest Canal, safeguarding dozens of homes and the main Manchester to Buxton railway line which nestle in the valley below the canal.

Rob Broadbent, project manager with the Canal & River Trust, said: “We all remember the scenes of catastrophic flooding last year. It is vitally important that we invest in protecting people and property by strengthening the Peak Forest Canal embankments and keeping the canals’ sluices, weirs and culverts in good working order.”

Interesting engineering challenge

Fran Littlewood, a principal engineer with the Canal & River Trust, added: “Anyone walking along a canal towpath could easily miss these tiny mechanisms locked away in anonymous black metal boxes. Sluices, weirs and culverts are the backroom boys of the canal system but each one offers an interesting engineering challenge and plays an important unsung role in regulating water levels.”