Following the dry winter and spring, CRT has started to impose cruising restrictions to save water and there are a number of infrastructure failures that are also restricting passage. Here’s a summary of those in place at the beginning of May (all ‘until further notice’):
- On the Leeds and Liverpool canal, locks at Johnsons Hillocks, Blackburn, Greenberfield, Bank Newton and Gargrave are all open at 10am and close at 5pm, last entry 4pm. Barrowford locks are open at 10am, and close at 4pm, last entry 3pm. There are also overnight restrictions in the Wigan central area. Lock 65 (top of Wigan flight) and Lock 85 (bottom of the flight) are open from 8.30am to 9.30am for entry onto the flight and 12.30pm to 1.30pm to exit from the flight. Padlocks on lock 88, Pagefield lock, and lock 89, Ell Meadow lock, open at 8am and are locked at 3pm daily.
- Vandals drove a JCB, left on-site by a CRT contractor, into the control unit of Bridge 20, Coxhead swing-bridge, on the L&L between Wigan and Liverpool, resulting in damage costing at least £70k to repair. CRT is unsure of the timescale of the repair, but anticipates that it could be several weeks. The bridge is being opened manually twice a week until a repair is completed, and boaters should arrive at 12 pm on Mondays or Fridays. If you have a Liverpool Link/Salthouse Dock booking, make sure you leave enough time to allow passage through Bridge 20. The nearest upstream winding hole is at Downholland (Bridge 20a – 20) and the downstream winding hole is at Lydiate Boat Club (Bridge17).
- Due to low water levels on the Rochdale canal, passage is only available between 9am and 4pm at Locks 7 and 13.
- Continuing problems with the narrowing of Lock 4, Hurleston Locks, on the Llangollen canal mean that he lock flight will be open between 8am and 5pm, when a CRT team will be available to assist boat passage.
- In the Midlands, due to reservoir capacity as low as 60%, the Buckby, Foxton and Watford lock flights are closed overnight, with lock opening hours from 9am to 5pm (last entry on the flights at 4.15pm). This will allow more time to back-pump water from the Braunston summit onto the Leicester summit.
- In Birmingham, problems with the water supply into the 47-mile Wolverhampton Level are due to only one of the three pumps at Bradley groundwater pumping station being operational. CRT engineers are working to replace one of the failed pumps as soon as possible. This means that locks at Wolverhampton, Rushall, Walsall, Factory, Brades, Spon Lane and Smethwick are open from 8.30am to the last boat through at 4pm each day. CRT is also working with Staffordshire County Council, the owners of Chasewater Reservoir, and Natural England to secure an additional feed into the canal.
- The Lancaster canal is dewatered between Bridge 164, Millness Bridge, and Bridge 166, Crooklandsturnpike Bridge for emergency repairs to a culvert.
- On the Stainforth and Keadby canal, there is assisted passage daily between 9am and 10am due to failure of the Wykewell lift-bridge.
- A cutting collapse has closed the canal between Wolverley and Debdale locks on the Staffs and Worcester canal. The closed section is open for boats to pass the slippage from 9am to 10am and 2pm to 3pm each day.