The Canal & River Trust, the national waterways and wellbeing charity, has upgraded a vital historic canal lift bridge in the village of Wrenbury, near Nantwich in Cheshire, to give it modern safety controls.
The £150,000 project has taken a couple of months to complete and has resulted in much easier operation for boaters on the Llangollen Canal, as well as introducing extra security measures for motorists using the single track road bridge between Nantwich Road and Cholmondeley Road.
The manual swing arm barrier, which stops traffic during a boat crossing, has been replaced by an automated drop-arm barrier at both ends of the bridge. New waterside safety fencing has been erected and a new bridge control pedestal, installed on the towpath side, will make it much easier and safer for boaters to raise the automated lift bridge.
Constructed over 200 years ago, the picturesque Llangollen Canal is one of the most popular leisure destinations on the Trust’s 2,000 mile waterway network. Each year thousands of boaters cruise the 44 mile scenic route between its terminus in Llangollen and the junction with the Shropshire Union Canal at Hurleston, South Cheshire.
The Wrenbury Lift Bridge project, which was delivered by contractors AmcoGiffen, started at the beginning of November 2020 and was completed the week before Christmas.
Darren Spann, project manager for the Canal & River Trust, explained: “This is a busy crossing point for both boats and cars so it is vital the lift bridge operates with modern safety standards and is kept in good working order.
“Wrenbury Lift Bridge (no 20) is one of a number of distinctive drawbridge-style crossings on this narrow canal, which allow the road to remain at the same height as the canal. Originally built to carry coal, iron and limestone, the Llangollen Canal has now reinvented itself as a leisure destination and a haven for wildlife.
“Modern canals offer an amazing, tranquil space, where everything slows down – a great place to escape the pressures of modern life. We know from research that people are happier and more relaxed when they’re by water, and activities such as walking, cycling, boating and fishing improve people’s mental and physical well-being.
“The pandemic lockdown has brought the amazing value of accessible and local waterways into even greater focus, so keeping the nation’s 200-year-old canal network fit for purpose is vitally important for everyone.”
For more information on the Canal & River Trust’s vital winter waterway repair programme, public open days and volunteering opportunities, visit https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/.