We wanted to update you on the latest progress on site at Marple and to advise you that unfortunately, the Marple Lock Flight will not be open in time for Easter. We know this will be disappointing to hear but wanted to let you know as soon as we were clear about the delay. We are now aiming reopen the Marple Lock Flight in time for the May Day Bank Holiday (4th May).
At Lock 15 we’ve suffered issues while removing the stone from the towpath side lock chamber wall during the dismantling phase. Some of the stonework has started splitting and crumbling in parts and unfortunately, we will not be able to reuse it as we had expected. Working with our heritage advisor we’ve managed to source new replacement stone from a local quarry, but the need to have new stones cut and delivered has introduced the delay to reopening the navigation.
The rest of the works are progressing to plan. We’re currently excavating down to a depth of 7 metres behind the Lock wall and in the next few weeks we will be installing the reinforcement steel cages and concreting behind the Lock wall ready for the rebuild. The other maintenance works on the flight are progressing well too with new lock gates being fitted at Locks 1 and 13, a total of 10 locks have been grouted, large wash wall repairs between Lock 8 & Lock 9, Lock quadrant walls rebuilt and Lock slope towpaths upgraded. Our volunteers are also doing a great job removing vegetation, installing new paddle gearing to the locks and fixing some of the towpath where it is in bad condition.
The new railings to Marple Aqueduct is on schedule. We are currently carrying out the ground works on site for the new railings to be installed w/c 27th February.
We will provide a further update in the then next few weeks, but in the meantime wanted to assure you that we were doing all we can to reopen the flight as quickly as possible.
Great progress is being made on site and works are moving forward in all the areas we have planned on the Marple flight. Between the repair to Lock 15 and the other works we are undertaking along the flight, we will be spending around £2.5m in the area this winter. This will see some significant improvements to the locks, towpaths and at the aqueduct, as well as delivering the key works to repair Lock 15.
The work at Lock 15 is critical though and very complex owing to the confined site, close to houses. We have reviewed our programme based on what we are finding at site and have set a reopening date of 29th March. We appreciate this is slightly later than first anticipated but is in time for the Easter weekend.
We wanted to assure you we are doing all that we can to reopen the flight as quickly as possible.
As a result of the emergency works to repair the chamber wall at Lock 15, the Marple flight will be completely closed until 16th March 2018.
Unfortunately, this means it will not be possible to open the canal for navigation on 27th and 28th January, as originally planned.
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.