The final stage of a £1m project to dredge 50,000 tonnes of sand, gravel and silt from the bed of the River Trent is taking place this week.
We started dredging the river in July to make it easier for leisure boats and cargo barges to cruise up and down. The project, the first major dredging campaign on the Trent for over ten years, has focussed on a 72km stretch of the river between Holme Lock south of Nottingham and Marton near Gainsborough.
A floating digger has been used to dredge out the material and load it into waiting barges before being taken away.
Over time muddy water from fields and surrounding land gets washed into the river from rainfall and the sediment is gradually deposited on the river bed. If this sediment builds up then boats can have difficulty travelling along the river and, in extreme cases, can get stuck on the bottom. A build-up of mud can even affect the flow of the river.
Sean McGinley, waterway manager for the East Midlands said; “The build-up of sediment is an entirely natural process but it’s our job to keep an eye on it and to take action when it’s needed. It’s not a glamorous job by any stretch of the imagination but it’s important to the boaters visiting and the businesses that depend on the river. This is the biggest dredging project we’ve had in quite a while and we’re pleased that our efforts will make life on the water that bit easier.”
The dredged material will be taken away to licensed tips with 10,000 tonnes being put into the Lafarge gravel pits alongside the river at Cromwell. The work has been carried out by specialist contractor Land & Water.