All clear for boating season as canal open after repairs and crane plunge

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The Leeds and Liverpool Canal has reopened following winter repairs and an accident in which a 64-tonne crane fell into the water near Bradford, threatening the start 
of the new boating season.

The accident on February 1 
happened when a towpath collapsed at Dobson Locks, in Apperley Bridge, tipping over a 
crane which was carrying out 
preparatory work for the replacement of the lock gates, which landed upside down in the 
water.

Because of its size, and delays due to the weather, it was not possible to remove it until March 6, when the waterway had been drained and two immense 200-tonne cranes were brought in to lift the stricken machine from the canal bed.

Work by the Canal and River Trust to complete the repairs to the 200-year-old canal resumed, allowing Dobson Locks to reopen to assisted passage yesterday, as the stretch of the waterway from Leeds to Bingley Five-Rise Locks reopened.

First through Dobson Locks at 10am was Andy Stakes of Bear Boating, based at Apperley Bridge Marina, with a family off on their first ever canal boat holiday. “The Canal and River Trust have done everything in their power to get it open and to make life bearable,” he said. “I think they’ve done an excellent job.”