Update from David Baldacchino, Canal & River Trust waterway manager for the Manchester and Pennine area.
We have had two issues at Marple (Peak Forest Canal) and Bollington (Macclesfield Canal) which have resulted in temporary closure of the canal navigations.
At Bollington, our teams have been monitoring a leak to the canal outside Clarence Mill and water is now seeping into the recreation ground below. As a temporary emergency measure, stop planks have been inserted either side of the leak and a short section of the canal is being drained over the weekend so our engineers can assess the damage early next week. A section of the towpath next to the drained area may be closed while repair work is being carried out.
The original canal structure here is clay laid on rock. The canal network is more than 200 years and inevitably leaks of this type do occur from time to time. Trust engineers will be working hard to repair the problem as quickly as possible so the canal can be re-opened to boaters. Further news will be available next week after the engineers’ inspection.
The Peak Forest Canal at Marple Locks, near to the junction with the Macclesfield Canal, has also been closed temporarily due to a broken lock gate.
A lock gate at Lock 12 of the 16 lock flight has separated from the lock chamber wall where the metal hinge attaches to the masonry. The ‘anchor plate’ is one of the last original iron gate hinges on the flight so we are hoping to preserve it with careful heritage repairs. The plan is to carry out temporary emergency work so the lock can be re-opened to boaters some time next week.
Around 200 boats are now isolated from the rest of the canal network due to these two issues.
Our staff are liaising with boaters to keep them informed of developments. We will re-open both canals as speedily as we can.