Temporary dams have been installed either end of a 750-metre section of the Macclesfield Canal between bridges 26 and 27, which has now been drained, with fish in the area rescued and removed to safety.
After building a special road using ‘bog mats' to get excavators and other equipment into the bottom of the canal, contractors are now underway with repairs to fix the canal.
Taking swift action
David Baldacchino, Canal & River Trust waterway manager, explained: “The Macclesfield Canal is extremely popular for boaters and it is an important part of the local community. Unfortunately these sorts of things can happen to a structure which is nearly 200 years old but we are taking swift action to repair it. While a definite date for reopening can't be given right now we hope it won't take too long to sort out.
“The specialist team carrying out the fish rescue were amazed at the number of fish in the canal. Large quantities of perch, roach and bream have been rescued from this stretch which is very encouraging in terms of the canal's general water quality.”
David Thorne, Canal & River Trust project manager, added: “Our contractors, Kier, will be working hard to carry out these emergency repairs as speedily as possible. We plan to remove silt, repair damaged areas and then backfill with clay to the normal canal bed level. Over the next week or so we expect to continue a process of investigation and repairs, extending the road in the canal bed as we go along. This is a precise process, as access is difficult and it is a relatively confined location, but we're hoping to get the canal reopened soon.”
The towpath is closed during the emergency repairs with diversions in place between bridge 25 (Holehouse Lane) and bridge 28 (Grimshaw Lane).