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Canal Project – April Update from SDC

Canal Project Latest

An update direct from SDC's Dave Marshall
Ebley

Volunteers from the Tuesday group have created a landing stage adjacent to Ebley Cloth Mills Bridge.

This will permit the Cotswold Canals Trust to begin trip boat operations with Endeavour, which should be craned into this stretch of water later this month.

Dudbridge

Contractors have now begun construction of a flood wall at Avocet Park. This will ensure that any high water levels in the canal do not affect the business park. Because of this, access to the towpath from Dudbridge Bridge (and vice versa) will not be possible for about 4 weeks.

Dudbridge Locks

The contract for the lock refurbishment is out to tender, with returns due this month. Work can be expected to begin in June. This will include restoring the canal between the locks to its original depth and width, which will allow an adequate water supply for operating the lower lock.

Capels Mill

The concrete canal channel East of the railway viaduct is being cast in 10 sections, of which two thirds are so far complete. All excavation work is finished, though earthworks to reprofile the old rubbish tip are due to start shortly. Public Open Days are scheduled here for the afternoon of Friday 10th May and the morning of Saturday 11th May. Weather permitting, these will give a unique opportunity for people to walk in the new length of canal channel before water is allowed in.

Cheapside

A contract to clear the canal channel between Wallbridge and Capels Mill should be put out to tender in June, for a start in August/September. It will not be possible to dredge to full depth and width, as there have been landslips here in the past. Great care has to be taken not to destabilize the slopes. Works to hold back the slopes – eg piles – would be prohibitively expensive.

Bowbridge

The contract for constructing a new road bridge over the canal is out to tender, again with returns due this month. The new bridge will sit directly alongside the old bridge and permit two-way traffic.

At present, the old bridge sits alongside a short area of infill. The contract also includes construction of a retaining wall immediately below the vets’ car park. This will permit the lock edges to be cut back, thereby accommodating the balance beams for lock gates.

Restoration of the lock will be carried out by volunteers once the retaining wall is completed. Volunteers from the Tuesday and Thursday groups have virtually completed upgrading of the towpath East of Bowbridge Lock up to Stanton’s Bridge. The top surfacing will be applied by REACH in due course.

Work is now continuing to the east, while a sub group has started work at Ham Mill and is heading westwards. This section is extremely narrow and in most cases it will not be possible to achieve the 2m standard width.

Griffins Mill Lock

Restoration work by Cotswold Canals Trust volunteers is progressing well, ably assisted by Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) work camps. The project has benefited recently due to WRG camps elsewhere being cancelled due to the weather – and our ability to accommodate displaced camps at short notice.

Ham Mill Lock

WRG volunteers held their first weekend work camp here on 16th/17th March and another over the Easter weekend. They will continue working here at least one weekend per month until November, together with two week-long work camps in August.

Waterway Renaissance Awards

Judging of four award applications took place last week; we should know the results next month.

The projects were last year’s Stroud on Water Festival, the flood defence work between Dudbridge and Ebley, the podcast heritage trail (‘Along the Cotswold Canals’) and the Thursday Volunteer Group.

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