A £500,000 project to repair Brick Lock, a two centuries old lock on the River Stort near Roydon, started yesterday.
The work is being carried out in order to reconstruct the lock wall to prevent it from subsiding. Engineers will first drain the lock of water, rescuing and relocating any fish that remain in the shallows. They will then prop the lock walls and insert steel sheet piles behind the towpath side lock wall, enabling a 25metre length of the lock chamber wall to be carefully demolished and rebuilt.
The project is expected to take approximately three months, finishing in April.
It is part of a series of repair and restoration projects that we are carrying out over the winter, which will involve spending over £43million across the country. Last year our workers braved the cold winter temperatures and unearthed some weird and wonderful items when they drained the canals in preparation for essential works. Items included a bag of bullets, a World War Two hand grenade, 16ft dead python and a Volkswagen Camper Van.
Brick Lock is one of 15 locks along the 14 mile River Stort navigation. Constructed in 1769 it would have been used primarily to support trade to and from local waterside mills, while today it is used primarily by boaters visiting and living on the Stort.
Colin Perkins, our principal project manager, said: "While there is no immediate threat, we’re pleased to get these repairs sorted out so that the lock is secure in the long term. Because of the size of the lock side, it is a major piece of work and quite technical. It’s a good example of the scale and type of improvements we have to make to the River and its infrastructure in order to keep it in top condition for all the people who use it."