Repairing the bridge
Ian Bogges, our project manager, explains:
“Unfortunately Hazelhurst Bridge was irreparably damaged in March 2020, following the dewatering of the canal upstream whilst we were repairing Hazelhurst Bottom Lock. The bridge had to be demolished for safety reasons.
“Hazelhurst Bridge provides vehicle and pedestrian access across the Caldon Canal for farmers, residents and liveaboard boaters. It also provides access for the Trust for maintenance work.
“The Trust is now planning to rebuild the bridge and we have applied for Listed Building Consent. The new bridge's appearance would be in the spirit of the former structure, matching its former location, form, scale, and character, including using many of the original stone masonry copings.”
When will contruction start?
Construction work will be carried out by our engineering contractor Kier. Work is planned to start in early August and completed in July 2023.
To facilitate the works, the Caldon Canal mainline navigation will be closed from the junction with the Leek Branch (Hazelhurst Junction), running south east to Cheddleton Lock, from Monday 5 September 2022 to Friday 24 March 2023. The towpath will be closed from the junction with the Leek Branch (Hazelhurst Junction), running south east to Hazelhurst Aqueduct, from early August 2022 to July 2023.
The Public Right of way on the access pathway towards the bridge from Leek Old Road will also be closed for the duration of the works, as will the pedestrian walkway along the disused Churnet Valley Rail track in the vicinity of the works.
Following an agreement with the local landowner, a new temporary car park area will be created for the moorers at Hazelhurst, and a temporary pedestrian bridge has been constructed across the canal to maintain access. Footpath and towpath diversion signs will be in place.
Throughout the works, as it is the mainline of the Caldon Canal from Hazelhurst Junction that is closed, boaters navigating the Caldon Canal from its junction with the Trent & Mersey Canal at Etruria in Stoke on Trent, will still be able to cruise to the furthest winding hole on the Leek Branch at Leek Fields, covering a distance of 11 miles, passing through nine locks and taking around seven hours.