TWO sets of locks on Manchester city centre’s Rochdale Canal are being upgraded and improved, thanks to a £115,000 winter works package by the Canal & River Trust.
The Trust will be closing the canal for six weeks from the beginning of February to carry out planned works to a short section, known as the Piccadilly Undercroft, which flows underneath the main A6 Piccadilly road, near the Malmaison Hotel and Ducie Street. A secure construction site is due to be set up during the week beginning February 6 and public access to the site will not be possible.
A worn-out set of oak gates at Lock 84 are to be replaced and at Lock 85, the Trust will be carrying out refurbishment of the chamber walls and existing lock gates.
Local Canal & River Trust manager David Baldacchino said: “Lock gates only have a working lifespan of two to three decades, so they do need to be replaced at fairly regular intervals. This vital improvement work should really help boaters enjoy a smoother passage through the city centre waterway.”
This winter the Trust will be spending over £45million to restore around 164 lock gates across the country, as well as carrying out repairs to aqueducts, reservoirs and tunnels. New lock gates are hand-crafted using traditional methods in the Trust’s specialist heritage workshops.
A single lock gate can take up to 20 days to make and in order for it to be watertight, it needs to be built very precisely, fitting tightly to the masonry of the lock walls and any other gate.