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Canal Project Latest

A report from SDC's Dave Marshall

Firstly, a big thank you to all those who voted for the Cotswold Canals in last week’s People’s Millions vote.

Although we didn’t win, we were the highest runners-up – so we still receive nearly £57,000.

The money will be used for towpath improvements, a podcast scheme and interpretation panels.

Channel Opening

The contract for opening up the channel between Ebley to Wallbridge is now ready to be let – once planning permission has been granted and the agreement of Marling School obtained to permit the deposition of material on its former rugby pitch.

The uncertainty stemming from this has led to consideration being given to splitting this contract in two and just letting the structures element go ahead.

This would see the restoration of the two Dudbridge Locks and construction of a new confluence weir at Frome Gardens.

The effect of the latter would be to raise the water level as far as Wallbridge, giving the appearance of a restored canal and allowing the Stroud on Water Festival to take place over the Diamond Jubilee weekend in June 2012.

Merrywalks Bridge

The new A46 bridge at Merrywalks is now expected to open to traffic on 21st July, though finishing works will carry on for another couple of months.

The culvert carrying the Slad Brook flow through the site has been removed this week – for the first time allowing water under the new bridge.

The Three Bridges

Later than planned, work will begin at the end of July on the replacement of two former swing bridges over the canal – Stonehouse Ocean and Chestnut Lane, Stroud.

The contract includes a third bridge at Lodgemore Lane, Stroud, but this has been delayed by landowner issues on both sides of the canal.

At Ocean, a new hand-operated swing bridge will be installed; work having been delayed to allow a wedding to take place on 30th July.

Chestnut Lane will see a full 44 tonne electro-hydraulic bridge. Temporary access for businesses on the south side of Chestnut Lane will be gained across the Avocet Park site at Dudbridge and across Marling School’s former rugby pitch south of the canal.

Job Centre Partnership

An exciting partnership with Stroud Job Centre is in the pipeline.

Unemployed persons will gain skills by voluntarily working on canal projects.

In return, they will receive certificates, a reference – and something worthwhile to add to their CV. We are hoping to launch the scheme in the middle of this month.

The possibility of involving Stroud College is also being examined.