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News article created on 19 June 2013

Divers brave fast flowing water to inspect River Trent

Divers are facing the daunting task of wading into one of the fastest flowing parts of the River Trent this week as they inspect the condition of one of the river’s biggest weirs.

If the weir wasn’t working properly then it could lead to flooding of communities and other people’s land so we take our job very seriously and look forward to getting in there and checking that everything’s as it should be. Sean McGinley

We carry out a detailed inspection of Gunthorpe Weir near Nottingham every 15 years. The weir is key for the boats that navigate the river and plays a vital role in preventing flooding. However with thousands of gallons of water flowing over the weir every minute, engineers were left with the problem of how to safely get a closer look. 

Working with HSSE dive specialists, our engineers have developed a plan to lift large girders into the river using a crane boat which will deflect water away from a section of the weir and enable divers to get in and carry out their inspection.

Once in the water, the divers will be checking that the weir is in one piece and hasn’t been damaged by floating tree branches or other debris, which occasionally gets washed over. Any damage that they do come across will be logged, assessed and repair works planned.

Challenging job

Built in the 1920s the weir was designed to maintain enough depth for large freight vessels using the river between Stoke Lock and Gunthorpe Lock.

The weir stretches 114m over the river between Gunthorpe Lock and East Bridgford. The inspection is expected to cost around £10,000 and last for around a week.

Sean McGinley, waterway manager for the Canal & River Trust, said; “This certainly isn’t a job for the faint-hearted, Gunthorpe Weir is one of the fastest flowing weirs on the river and, on the face of it, getting into the water to inspect it is arguably one of the most challenging jobs we‘re faced with.

“However, while it might seem daunting, it’s a great example of the important work we have to do and it will be just another day at the office for our teams.

“If the weir wasn’t working properly then it could lead to flooding of communities and other people’s land so we take our job very seriously and look forward to getting in there and checking that everything’s as it should be.”