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News article created on 23 January 2013

Divers brave freezing water to install lock gates on the River Severn

We've been stripping-off this week, with divers braving freezing water temperatures to guide nine-tonne lock gates into place on the River Severn.

It is painstaking work which involves a range of expertise from civil engineering and heritage professionals to environmental specialists and water management. Mark Abraham

Essential maintenance work is being carried out in Holt Fleet, Worcestershire, as we repair and re-install what are thought to be among the largest lock gates in the country.

At nine-tonnes these gates are significantly larger than the majority of lock gates on our network of inland waterways. Most locks are found on canals, which require smaller gates than river locks, typically weighing around three tonnes.

The two refurbished oak gates have been stripped and re-planked to ensure they continue to operate safely and effectively. We will use the specially trained divers to help guide the gates as they are craned into place. While this work takes place teams will also repair the walkways on this section of River Severn.

Range of expertise

Mark Abraham, construction supervisor at the Canal & River Trust, said: “These gates are well over a decade old, and have aged because of constant usage and the enormous pressure the Severn places on them. It is essential they are reinforced, so that they can continue to operate properly for all the boaters and visitors who enjoy the river each year."

“It is painstaking work which involves a range of expertise from civil engineering and heritage professionals to environmental specialists and water management. It is only right that we continue to preserve and improve our waterways, they are part of the nation’s heritage, and continue to have an important role in today’s communities where they are home to wildlife and enjoyed by millions who live or work on them and visit them each year.”