A stretch of the Trent & Mersey Canal is being officially re-opened today, following repairs to a section of 200 year-old embankment, which collapsed in September leaving a crater equivalant to the size of 12 double decker buses.
Over 24 million litres of water and 12 thousand tonnes of stones have been needed to restore the Trent & Mersey Canal in Dutton, Cheshire, so that it can once again be enjoyed by boaters, walkers and nature lovers.
We have invested nearly £2.1 million to complete the repairs, with a further £25,000 being contributed via donations from the public.
It is believed that the 18th century canal embankment became unstable as a result of prolonged rainfall during autumn of last year, which affected embankments around the country. The British Geological Society reported that landslips in the UK increased four to five fold between July and December 2012 compared to previous years.
The Dutton breach saw water flood into a nearby farmer’s field, leaving a 40 metre hole in the canal embankment which shut the waterway and its towpath for over seven months.
To guard against a repeat of the failure we have installed new drainage at the base of the embankment to help disperse excess ground water and a specialist flexible waterproof liner has been fitted to seal the canal.
Vince Moran, operations director for the Canal & River Trust, explains: “We’re delighted to be re-opening this section of the Trent & Mersey Canal ahead of schedule and in time for the main boating season. Fortunately this kind of incident is rare, and we’ve gone to great lengths to restore the embankment and protect it from this sort of failure in the future.
“We’ve been overwhelmed with the support and kind donations from the public to help us with the repairs. The way that local enthusiasts, community groups, boaters and cyclists have rallied together to help us get the canal open again has been amazing. The incident has demonstrated the love that people have for canals, which are continuing to thrive two centuries after they were built.”
Nigel Huges, chief executive for YMCA birkenhead said: “This waterway is very special to a huge number of people from different and diverse backgrounds and the YMCA uses its unique rural peace and tranquillity to help people escape from the problems and chaos of everyday urban life – to that end it is an invaluable resource to us. We applaud the work of the Canal & River Trust and the speedy work of the contractors in returning the canal to its former glory and are proud to support the fund-raising initiatives - helping put something back to safeguard this magnificent waterway for future generations to enjoy.”