Thursday, 15 August 2013

And Smethwick Makes Three...

Photo by roving photographer - Annie Brown

Five  months ago Lock 12 on the Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal collapsed, closing the arm and trapping 24 boats in the town basin.  These had to be lifted out by C&RT and put back into the canal at Willowbridge Marina near Milton Keynes.

Repairs are under way but the expected date of completion has moved from August to October and so boats will be lifted back into the arm during September.

There months later  lock 20 of the Wolverhampton flight of the BCN mail line collapsed, cutting one access into Birmingham.  Repairs have been partially completed and passage is now possible during certain hours with assistance from C&RT staff at the site.
Photo by John kelly
Photo by Stuart Field

Now the top lock at Smethwick has collapsed.

When will C&RT realise that maintainance of the canal network is an important element of their remit.  That means planned preventative work on all structures. The current attitude appears to be let's wait until it fails then we'll send in the contractors.  For at least eight years to my knowledge, locks on the Aylesbury Arm have had notices on them asking boaters to empty the lock on leaving because the lock wall leaks.  Didn't it dawn on anyone that water washing through brickwork continuously would erode the soil behind the lock wall?  Why not? Because they were too busy carving poetry on lock gates and towing floating gardens around Birmingham and losing millions of pounds on property speculation.
Are these people answerable to no-one?

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