Work begins on dredging flood-damaged canal

Dredging the Rochdale Canal at Mytholmroyd. Picture: Charles Round
Dredging the Rochdale Canal at Mytholmroyd. Picture: Charles Round
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WORK has began to dredge 7,500 tonnes of debris from a canal between Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge, part of which had to be closed to boats following the Boxing Day floods.

The £350,000 operation, being undertaken by the Canal and River Trust, is expected to last around six weeks and will focus on a 3.5 mile stretch of the Rochdale Canal between Moderna Bridge in Mytholmroyd to Bridge 22 in Todmorden.

Tonnes of debris, stone and sand were washed into the 200-year-old canal during the flooding, and the stretch between Hebden Bridge and Sowerby Bridge was forced to close to boats. The work, which involves using a floating dredger to dig the material from the bed of the canal to clear the blocked sections to navigation, should see the route re-opened by Easter.

Senior project manager at the Canal and River Trust, Mark Weatherall, said: “A huge amount of material was washed into the canal during the floods blocking the navigation to boaters. 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, which also saw towpaths between Sowerby Bridge and Todmorden badly damaged. 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.