THE Canal & River Trust, has started work on a major project to dredge sections of the 26-mile Macclesfield Canal.
Work costing over £1.3 million will last two years and will focus on areas along the Macclesfield Canal where boaters are having difficulty mooring, navigating through bridges or getting stuck on the approach to locks.
The first phase will see around 17,000 tonnes of silt – which is the same in weight as over 2,800 elephants – will be removed from the canal.
Using a floating dredger, silt and debris which has built up along the bottom of the canal over a number of years, will be removed from the bottom of the waterway.
Local farmers will also benefit from the Canal & River Trust’s work as the nutrient-rich silt removed from the canal was spread on adjacent fields. This has saved hundreds of road miles by avoiding lorries taking the dredgings to a tip.
Mark Weatherall, from the Canal & River Trust, said: “This is a big project and we are expecting this year’s work to be finished towards the end of October. We’ve known for a while that that some boaters have had some problems due to the build-up of silt so I’m glad we can now make some improvements to the navigation.
“The project is a good example of the variety of work we do as a charity. The Macclesfield Canal is a hugely popular canal and is used by thousands of boaters each year so it’s important we look after it and ensure everyone can use it throughout the year.”
The Macclesfield Canal was designed as a direct link between Manchester and the Midlands. It was one of the last narrow-gauge canals (locks 7ft wide) to be built by famous canal engineer Thomas Telford.