‘Worst-hit’ canal near Wakefield to cost £2m will be closed for 12 months

Part of a busy canal route near Wakefield has closed for 12 months after sustaining serious damage during last month’s severe flooding.

By Sam McKeown
Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 12:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 12:06 pm

The Canal & River Trust (CRT) said the Figure of Three locks, a key section of the Calder and Hebble Navigation, will be totally closed for around a year and set to cost over £2 million in repairs.

Water overtopping on the bend of the River Calder caused major damage to the lock and towpath, which starts at Figure Of Three Bottom’s Lock 24 and ends Figure Of Three Top’s Lock 23, after the region was hit by Storm Ciara and Dennis last month.

CRT Yorkshire director, Sean McGinley said: “Among our charity’s 2,000-mile network of waterways, our Yorkshire region has been hit hardest.

Sign up to our daily Wakefield Express Today newsletter

The damage sustained at the Figure of Three locks.

“It’s especially heartbreaking to see West Yorkshire’s communities and stretches of canal and river once again hit so hard, just four years after the Boxing Day floods in 2015.

“Rochdale Canal and the Calder and Hebble Navigation are the most affected waterways in the region.

“250 years old this year, Calder and Hebble Navigation is home to Figure of Three locks.

“While our initial estimates indicate Figure of Three Locks will be closed for 12 months and repairs will cost in excess of £2 million, these figures will be refined in the coming weeks with the assistance of our engineers and contractors.

A spokeman from the Canal and River Trust said the Figure of Three is "definitely the worst hit", and we estimate it will be closed for 12 months.

“At present it [Figure of Three locks] is the most damaged single structure on the Trust’s entire 2,000-mile network following the recent storms.”

Although part of the Calder and Hebble Navigation is closed, the section’s towpath remains open.

A spokesman from the CRT said: “The Figure of Three is definitely the worst hit, and we estimate it will be closed for 12 months.

“The rest of the navigation will remain open, so private boaters can still use the canal, but there’s no real alternative route to getting past the Figure of Three locks.

“At the moment our operations teams are working hard to assess all the damage, drawing up action plans and timescales of the repairs, and how we can fund them.

“White Lee Clough Culvert in Mytholmroyd on the Rochdale Canal is also pretty bad, [but we] don’t have an estimate for that yet though.

“We’re hoping to have that navigation opened much sooner to ensure hire and private boaters have somewhere to cruise this summer.

“We’ve stoppage notices on our website where boaters can check which stretches are closed - most general maintenance work is done over winter.”

Mr McGinley said: "As we saw in 2016, getting our towpaths open and boats moving through our canals can play a vital role in helping to get communities back on their feet and our team and volunteers will continue to work hard to achieve this."

Updates on the Calder and Hebble Navigation can be viewed here: www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/notices