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The 10-mile-long Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal opened in 1833; and connects the Shropshire Union Canal at Barbridge Junction to the Trent & Mersey Canal at Middlewich.
On 15 March 2018, a 70m section of embankment collapsed adjacent to Stanthorne Aqueduct, near Middlewich. The catastrophic loss of water from the canal lead to 4.4 million gallons of water washing away the embankment, with the water entering the river Wheelock below. The breach drained almost 1 mile of the Shropshire Union Canal (Middlewich branch) between Stanthorne Lock and Wardle Lock, leaving several boats stranded and this part of the Cheshire Ring closed.
Following an emergency response to make the site safe, work started 3 weeks later to repair the embankment and the canal.
One of the initial key challenges was that access would be required by heavy plant over the Grade II listed Stanthorne Aqueduct. Apart from a challenging site to access, the near impossible aim was to re-open the canal and towpath in time for Christmas 2018.
The key to the success was the good working relationship between The Canal and River Trust, their framework construction partner Kier and various other organisations.
The project also had the support from the local community; encouraging volunteering, fund raising, site visits and community engagement as part of the process.
The project was completed successfully on 31 January 2019 and is a testament to the knowledge of today’s engineers that enabled a 200-year old civil engineering structure to be repaired and enhanced in a sympathetic way.
The Salt Works is situated on the B5075 (Ollershaw Lane) about a mile from Northwich town centre. It is well signposted (follow the brown signs). Chester is approximately a 30-minute drive, Liverpool and Manchester are 40 minutes. There is a large car park adjacent to the venue.
Light refreshments will be served from 18:00, with the talk beginning at 18:30.
Organised by ICE Cheshire Branch.
For further information please contact Antje Budge - [email protected] or 07866-033143.
Project Manager, Kier (Waterways)
e: [email protected]