Work has started to restore four lock gates on the 200-year old Leeds & Liverpool Canal in Wigan as part of a £170,000 upgrade to the waterway.
Skilled workmen from the Trust, have replaced the top set of gates at locks 72 and 84 on the Wigan Lock Flight which, after a quarter of a century of service, have come to the end of their working life. Repairs are also being carried out to locks 73 and 81 which will involve repointing and replacing missing brickwork and minor repairs to the lock gates to ensure the locks are in good working order.
The new lock gates are hand-crafted using traditional methods in the Trust’s specialist workshops at Bradley in the West Midlands and Stanley Ferry in Yorkshire. A single lock gate can take up to 20 days to make and has a working life of between 25 and 30 years. In order to be watertight they need to be built very precisely, fitting tightly to the masonry of the lock walls and to each other
Chantelle Seaborn, waterway manager for the Trust, said: "The Leeds & Liverpool Canal is celebrating its 200th birthday and is even more popular with thousands of boaters using the canal each year. After many years of service the time has come to replace some of the lock gates. The new hand-crafted lock gates will help to conserve water and keep the canal running smoothly so everyone can enjoy it."
The repairs are expected to be completed by mid-December 2016.
This winter the Trust will be working on around 164 lock gates across the country, as well as carrying out repairs to aqueducts, reservoirs and tunnels. Over £45million is being spent to give the nation’s waterways some TLC at a time when more people than ever are visiting their local canal or river.