Known as the ‘Gateway to Nantwich', the aqueduct is an iconic grade II* structure, designed by Thomas Telford in 1826. It still carries the Shropshire Union Canal over the A534 Nantwich to Chester Road.
The project is being funded by generous donations to the Canal & River Trust by members of the public (£130,000), Cheshire East Council (£40,000), Nantwich Town Council (£20,000), Acton, Edleston & Henhull Parish Council (£3,000) and the Nantwich Partnership (£2,000). Work on the aqueduct is expected to start in spring 2015.
Iconic engineering masterpiece
Lee Bradley, principal engineer for the Canal & River Trust, said: “We have worked together for five years to raise the profile of the aqueduct and it is only with help from members of the public and by working in partnership that we now have the opportunity to carry out this essential maintenance work.
“We hope this project will be a catalyst that brings new investment to the area, attracts walkers, cyclists and anglers, and provides boaters with an iconic engineering masterpiece to carry the canal for another 200 years.”
Nantwich Aqueduct, although still structurally sound, is in need of significant renovation to maintain its condition. Work will include preparation, four coats of paint, replacement of a missing cast Iron panel and important masonry repairs.
The aqueduct, at the end of Welsh Row, comprises a cast iron trough, supported on six arches. It was constructed during Telford's lifetime and is recorded in the great engineer's biography “The Life of Thomas Telford”. Nantwich Aqueduct has a sister aqueduct that crosses the A5 in Staffordshire, which has also been identified for investment in the future years.
Gateway to the town
Sarah Lalieu, enterprise manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “Nantwich Aqueduct is the gateway to the town and part of its unique historical heritage. The agreement on the financial arrangements is the result of several years of discussion. I am delighted that with the financial support of Cheshire East Council, Nantwich Town Council and Acton, Edleston and Henhull Parish Council, we are now able to go ahead with this work under the auspices of the Nantwich Partnership."
Cheshire East Councillor Peter Groves, said: “I am absolutely delighted that a famous and historic Nantwich landmark and highly important gateway into the town is to be restored at long last. The work of the partnership has been outstanding and we are proud to be part of this rewarding project."