Half a million to fix a lock

January 2017 - By Peter Underwood

Big river locks are expensive beasts and the Canal & River Trust has just begun a £500,000 project to repair Brick Lock, on the River Stort near Roydon.

One of 15 locks on the Start navigation, Brick Lock was built in 1769 and now has deteriorated to the extent that one whole wall needs to be taken apart and put back together – although project Manager Colin Perks insists there is 'no immediate threat.'

The work is being carried out in order to reconstruct the lock wall to prevent it from subsiding. Engineers will first drain the lock of water, then prop the lock walls and insert steel sheet piles behind the towpath side lock wall, enabling a 25metre length of the lock chamber wall to be carefully demolished and rebuilt. The project is expected to take approximately three months, finishing in April.

It is part of a series of repair and restoration projects involving a £43m spend across the Canal & River Trust's network, that we are carrying out over the winter, which will involve spending over £43million across the country.

When first built Brick Lock would have been used to support trade to and from local waterside mills, while today it is used primarily by boaters visiting and living on the Stort.

Colin Perkins, the Trust's principal project manager, said: "While there is no immediate threat, we’re pleased to get these repairs sorted out so that the lock is secure in the long term.

“Because of the size of the lock side, it is a major piece of work and quite technical. It’s a good example of the scale and type of improvements we have to make to the River and its infrastructure in order to keep it in top condition for all the people who use it."

Many boaters will be pleased with the fact that the work is being done and asking when they are likely to see equally essential repairs carried out.

Photo: River Stort, courtesy of John Smith

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