VOLUNTEERS at the Wey & Arun Canal Trust have been making great progress on their latest major restoration project in Surrey, a few miles south of the point where the Wey & Arun Canal connects with the national waterway network.
The trust is restoring a section of canal at Birtley, near Bramley, to create a length of waterway suitable for kayakers, paddleboarders and canoeists to use, and work is underway to construct the second of two bridges in this picturesque area.
The canal is blocked by a causeway that carries a bridleway and cycleway, so volunteers have constructed a diversion to allow right of way use to continue while the bridge is built.
They have also worked with gas distribution company SGN to relocate a gas main under the canal bed.
Piling contractor Neil Foundations Systems set to work at the end of August and volunteers have now begun work on the bridge foundations.
Concrete blinding was applied to the canal bed in September to create a sound working base and working parties have been constructing formwork, and steel cages at the trust’s depot and site ahead of casting the concrete ground beams needed.
The bridge will be a manually operated lift bridge, and the same mechanism will be fitted to the bridge several hundred metres to the south, which currently has a temporary fixed deck.
Trust chairman Sally Schupke said she looked forward to the next phase of work at Birtley: “Restoring the canal here at Birtley will provide a stunning outlook for the many walkers, cyclists and horse riders who pass by and add to the attraction of the canalside walk we opened here earlier this year.”