Revisiting Figure of Three Locks one year on after storm damage

A major £3 million repair project at Figure of Three Lock on the Calder & Hebble Navigation is nearing completion. Drone footage has been released to showcase the work on site.

The site was badly damaged by flood water overtopping from the River Calder during the storms and floods in February 2020 and has been closed to water traffic and towpath users for the past 12 months. It is expected to reopen to both boats and people using the towpath this summer.

Due to coronavirus and safety restrictions, have been unable to open up the project to the public as it has with other works in the past, so it has released drone footage of how the work is progressing.

Heart breaking to see

Sean McGinley, director Yorkshire & North East, said: “Figure of Three was the most damaged structure across our 2,000-mile network following the February 2020 storms. It was heart-breaking to see the devastation on this historic waterway which turned 250 years old last year.

“It has been a major project to repair it and we’re grateful for the team effort to get where we are now, particularly considering the extra restrictions and issues that have been created by the coronavirus outbreak.

“We are really looking forward to having boats and walkers back on this beautiful stretch of canal again.”

Extreme weather

With climate change bringing extreme weather events more often, the design of the works will be more robust and a new spillway capable of taking a larger water capacity has been added to help the structure withstand future flood events.

Listed building consent was necessary for the works, so reinforced concrete that strengthens the structure has been faced with masonry to maintain the heritage status, using as much of the old salvaged masonry as possible.

The area to the towpath side of the lock has been designed to take the flows in the event of the river overtopping, and the towpath itself has also been constructed more robustly.

Work has been affected by further flooding of the lock island in January, so a field drain was diverted and a drainage system installed to divert water around the works. More recently snow and freezing temperatures have delayed concreting works.

The site compound is still fenced off with pedestrian barriers and fencing down near the embankment to prevent public access.

To ensure pedestrian safety, barriers have also been placed across the towpath to prevent people from getting into the working areas.