Following heavy rainfall over the Christmas period the landslip caused the surface of a slope above a section of the Rochdale Canal to slide down on and into part of the canal. The slip blocked the way with earth, trees and debris and damaged the canal which also saw sections temporarily closed due to scoured towpaths, damaged locks and a failed section of canal bank.
Since then we have been liaising with the owners of the slope, with a view to reopening the canal as quickly as possible.
With one of the owners' insurers disputing the extent of their cover, the landowner has, in the meantime, helpfully agreed to grant us permission to access the slope. This has enabled engineers to help with the important job of assessing whether the damage caused has resulted in any further movement of the land.
These essential ground investigation works have initially focussed around one property's driveway, and the slope leading to the canal. Engineers have dug a bore hole to assess the extent of the stability/instability of the slope above the canal, which also extends on to neighbouring land. Once this has been ascertained then remedial work and clean-up plans can be put into action so that the canal can be reopened as quickly and safely as possible.
David Baldacchino, waterway manager for the Trust, said: “The situation at Todmorden is quite complicated and we've been working hard behind the scenes to get to the point where we can get in there and assess the full extent of the problem.
“We don't own the slope in question and we're very mindful that this has been a distressing time for the landowners so we're doing whatever we can to help them, to minimise any upset and to ensure that they have the necessary advice. We've been working particularly closely with one of the landowners, their legal team and insurers to get the necessary permissions in place to investigate whether the slope is still moving and we are pleased that these investigations are nearing completion.
“We would like to thank people using the canal for their patience, apologise for any inconvenience caused and ask them to please bear with us a little longer. We are working to reopen the canal as quickly as possible and will continue to provide updates as works progress.”