GLOUCESTER Lock has been closed since mid-January following the discovery of a leak in the bottom of the Grade II Listed structure, that meant it could not be used. This lock has a unique context – with the tidal River Severn below it and the deep Gloucester Docks above – making it unusually difficult to drain the lock and manage the water flows and pressures at either end.
The extensive nature of the repairs needed – with the path of the leak extending further than anticipated – have complicated the work further, and consequently work has taken much longer and is proving more costly than foreseen. The Trust has been doing everything possible to resolve the problem and we have tried a number of options to reduce water levels and complete the works including using divers to inspect the base of the lock. The delays have been compounded by the regular spring tides on the river meaning work has to be suspended until we can work safely.
A specially manufactured steel dam is now in place to hold back the river water and we have started to clear approximately 100 tonnes of accumulated silt from the damaged area of the lock so that the team can undertake the repairs.
Unfortunately, as a consequence of these delays, the lock will now not be open before Easter. We realise that this will cause disruption, and we share that disappointment given our extensive efforts to resolve the leak. Based on current progress, barring any further unexpected issues arising, we are aiming to reopen the lock on 28 April.
Repairs to the lock were originally expected to take 6 weeks and cost £75,000 but the unforeseen challenges we have faced have meant an extended timeframe with overall costs now estimated to be £200k.
Our sincere thanks go to everyone for their patience and we apologise again to the boaters who are waiting to use the lock. Meanwhile, Gloucester Docks, the National Waterways Museum and the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal remain open for those who would like to visit.
Gloucester Lock is an important link between the River Severn and Gloucester Docks and the Canal. It is part of the Canal & River Trust’s 200-year old, 2,000-mile long waterways network.
Updates are regularly posted at canalrivertrust.org.uk/notices A further update is expected at the end of the week.