Middlewood canal reopened

Michael Hunt

British Waterways has reached a major landmark in the restoration of the Manchester, Bolton and Bury canal by completing the first section of restored canal at Middlewood, Salford.

The opening of the 15.2 mile long canal was the most challenging phase of the £5.9m project. The canal, first built 200 years ago, is being delivered by contractors Volker Stevin and led by British Waterways.

Filled in during the 1960s, the canal through Middlewood represents the focal point for £600m of urban regeneration comprising of a mixed-use development.

Restoration works have included the creation of a tunnel under the Salford Inner relief road, which then extends under the Manchester/Wigan Rail Viaduct. This new tunnel will be known as the 'Margaret Fletcher Tunnel', dedicated to the late and much respected chairman of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society.

Other engineering works include:

  • excavation of 80,000 tonnes of rubble and material
  • widening of East Ordsall Lane road bridge; the creation of two small circular basins
  • restoration of the original Lock 3
  • construction of a new seven-metre deep lock, which will be the third deepest lock within British Waterways' 2,200-mile network.

North West European Development Fund (through Manchester Enterprises), Salford City Council, North West Development Agency (NWDA) and Valley & Vale Properties Ltd have helped with funding on the scheme.

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