Canal Project Update by Dave Marshall

Five April Updates from SDC'S Dave Marshall

Over 100 volunteers gathered at Dudbridge Locks last month for a ‘thank you’ barbecue laid on by SDC and CCT. They were joined by volunteers from The Lawn project, which over the last few years has seen the former garden north of the locks transformed into a pleasant park.

The previous week, volunteers did a fantastic job in laying 30 cubic metres of concrete at Dudbridge as part of the scheme to prevent further damage by floodwater.

Wallbridge Lower Lock

Tenders have now been received for the three contracts related to this site – three contracts have been put out to tender – construction of the lock bypass/fish pass (and dredging above), restoration of the lock itself, and dredging the canal below the lock.

The three contracts will be awarded shortly – almost certainly to three different companies. The total of the three tenders is well below the budget price and will therefore reduce the current project shortfall.

Unfortunately, while the dredging works and bypass construction should take place this summer, the actual lock refurbishment will have to wait until next year. This is because the bypass work will not be completed until too late in the year. Meanwhile, McCarthy & Stone are due to begin piling their site (above the lock) on 28th April; effectively removing the danger for contractors working on the canal below.

Cheapside

The planned solution is to use a textile membrane to edge the canal, with dredged material then deposited behind. A planning application is currently being drawn up and the work will then be put out to tender.

As this will involve draining the canal between Dr Newton’s Way and Wallbridge, we would rather keep the canal in water for the summer visitor season and then drain it in the autumn.

Bowbridge

Work on building the retaining wall below the vets’ surgery is underway; the contract having been awarded to a local company – Cristom Construction. Concrete pouring has begun, and once complete, the work will be finished by volunteers with interlocking ‘porcupine’ blocks as used at Dudbridge. Once completed, SDC-led volunteers will begin restoring the lock itself.

Living Waterway Awards

The Cotswold Canals Project has done well with the annual Waterway Renaissance Awards in the last three years. The scheme has been re-launched as the Living Waterway Awards, but remains the most prestigious in waterway restoration. We have submitted six award applications – in the categories of education, leisure & tourism, outstanding individual(s), design & construction, arts & interpretation and volunteering.

Mural

Well worth a look is the new mural under Dr Newton’s Way, painted last week by pupils from Thomas Keble School. This joins two others at Dudbridge painted by Archway School pupils. Another is in the pipeline for the near future – one under Downton Road Bridge (Stonehouse) to be painted by William Morris House pupils.

Click on Mike Gallagher's pictures to view larger versions.