The Canals and Rivers Trust are starting work this week to dredge around 7,500 tonnes of debris from the Rochdale Canal. The £350k operation, scheduled to last 6 weeks, will allow the flood damaged waterway to reopen to boats between Hebden Bridge and Sowerby Bridge by Easter.
The work will focus on a 3½ mile stretch of the canal between Moderna Bridge in Mythomroyd to Bridge 22 in Todmorden where tonnes of debris, stone and sand were washed into the 200-year old canal during the Boxing Day floods.
A floating dredger will be used to dig the material from the bed of the canal to reopen the blocked sections to navigation.
Mark Weatherall, senior project manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “A huge amount of material was washed into the canal during the floods blocking the navigation to boaters. We estimate we’re likely to remove 7,500 tonnes of sediment. The work will not only benefit boaters but it will improve water depth and quality for fish and other wildlife.”
The dredging is part of the on-going works to repair the canal. Volunteers and staff from the Trust have being working tirelessly to repair badly damaged towpaths between Sowerby Bridge and Todmorden. There is also considerable work to do on the canal between lock 16 and 17 where the flooded River Calder washed away an entire stretch of canal bank.
David Baldacchino, waterway manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “This is great news and is the latest in a long line of works that we’re carrying out. The dredging will enable boaters to navigate the canal once again and we’re making good progress towards our target of opening between Hebden Bridge and Sowerby Bridge by Easter.”