This issue's cover photograph shows the, already impressive, partly completed piling of the three-rise. It was taken on the 17th July looking across the Savick brook from the site of the turning basin.
Work is now in progress along all but two sections of the Link. These are from the Ribble around the back of the Lea Gate to the BNFL pumping station and the length which runs between the Ashton & Lea golf course and the BNFL sports ground. It now takes over three hours to drive and walk around taking photographs of all the sites
As in last monthissue here is my diary of updates I have made to the web site following each photographic expedition.
Tue 26th June 2001: Lock 4 has been partially excavated and more work is being carried out on the channel between Lea Road and the railway bridge. The piles at lock 5 are now being securely linked together and ties to the anchor piles put in place. Piling has now started on lock 8 at the top of the three rise. Site access work is in progress between Blackpool Road and Lea Road and construction work should soon begin in this area.
Tue 17th July 2001: Lock 4 has now been fully excavated and the bottom concreted. Work continues on the channel between Lea Road and the railway bridge, where it has reached the rather tight double bend behind Savick County Primary School. The piling at lock 5 is now complete. Piling is continuing on locks 6, 7 and 8 which comprise the three rise flight up to the Lancaster Canal where the upper mooring basin has been partially excavated. Site access work and fencing has been continuing between Blackpool Road and Lea Road and construction work has begun in the area around lock 2a. A haul road has been laid to give access to the site of lock 1 from Blackpool Road.
Fri 27th July 2001: At lock 4 work continues on the cills and gate mountings. Work is now substantially complete on the channel between Lea Road and the railway bridge. Lock 5 is ready for excavation and piling is now almost complete on locks 6, 7 and 8. Excavation of the channel between the farm access bridge and the golf course footbridge is now well advanced. Construction work has now begun in the area around lock 2.
Thu 23rd Aug 2001: Channel excavation has commenced below lock 2 where piling is in progress as the planned work at lock 2A was re-scheduled due to flooding. The basic steel and concrete structure of lock 4 is now virtually complete and measurements have been taken for the construction of the gates. The weirs above locks 4 & 5 are now in place but gaps have been left as the brook has to flow through for a while. The chamber of lock 5 is now being excavated. More trees and bushes have been removed at the turning basin site, east of Tom Benson Way, in preparation for excavation and the steel piling at the three-rise, locks 6, 7 & 8, is nearing completion. An article on the progress of the Link was in the September edition of Waterways World. The map used was out of date and showed the Haslam Park route (not my fault!).
Wed 12th Sep 2001: At lock 1, where the haul road has been in position for some time, site investigations have been completed. The site conditions there have been found to be more favourable than expected. Profiling of the banks between the BNFL pumping station and lock 2 has been completed. The piling of lock 2 is complete, the tie rods are being installed and a start has been made on the weir. Excavation of the channel between the farm access bridge and lock 2a is continuing. Piling at the lock should be completed by the weekend - the flood protection piles across the bottom of the chamber were being driven this morning. A new site is being opened-up in the field to the south of Lea Road where the laying of the haul road to the site of lock 3 has been started.
The gates for lock 4 are being built by British Waterways and should be installed in 2-3 weektime. The concrete sills will then be cast with the gates in-situ to ensure a good seal. A landing stage has been partly built by BW workers as a trial of the techniques needed for recycled plastic constructions. Between lock 4 and Savick Way the newly profiled banks have been turbo-seeded with a mixture of flax & jute fibres, grass seed and water. Down-stream of Savick Way a length of bank protection has been installed as another trial of the recycled plastic. Concreting work is on-going at lock 5 where some bank profiling has been held up by nesting kingfishers and then by sand martins which subsequently occupied their nest. The turning basin at the bottom of the three-rise has been two-thirds excavated. The piling is complete and the ties have been installed. The concrete base of lock 6 has been laid and an excavator is working its way up the flight to complete the digging-out of the other lock chambers.
Progress with construction is still moving on at a blistering pace although, I must admit, it slowed a little through August due to the wet weather. However, all work is still on schedule and providing no problems are encountered the main works will be completed by Spring next year.
Work on lock 4 is complete, with the exception of the lock gates, which are due to arrive shortly. Work on lock 5 and the three-rise locks is progressing well and the piling is now place at lock 2 & 2a. Work on widening the channel continues along a large portion of the route with the Ruttle Plant Hire trucks being a common site along Blackpool Road. Incidentally, if you are in the vicinity of the Lea Gate pub, be very careful as a 30mph speed limit has been imposed due to the dangers of the vehicles turning into the site and the traffic police have set up a speed trap.
Modifications are now being considered on the double bend, which is located between lock 4 and Savick Way after Frank and myself advised the construction team of the difficulty boats would have negotiating the tight bends.
On to other news. Terry Tomlinson and his team did a great job organising the AWCC rally in July, which was held in support of the Ribble Link, when 58 boats made the trip to Preston Marina. The weather held up and everyone enjoyed a good sail. A number of the British Waterways and Gleesonstaff who are involved with the Link joined Peter Lang on board Stress Release for a trip down the river.
A mini bus was a special feature at this yearevent. This was organised to enable those who wished to see at first hand the progress being made. The bus left at regular intervals (well not that regular) from the marina for a trip around to view several locations where construction was in progress. The routes went via the three-rise locks to lock 4 at Lea Road and then on to Savick Bridge were everyone disembarked to view the channel works at close hand.
A marquee, which has become a regular feature at our events, was erected near to the Riversway control tower and entertainment was provided for all the boaters on the Saturday evening. The master of ceremonies was the Chairman of AWCC, Alan Jones and he ensured an enjoyable evening was had by all.
Frank & Irene Parker are busy organising the Grand Opening Cruise, the date of which has not been finalised, but entry forms will be sent out within the next few months and everyone will be notified. A logistical problem faces our organisers due to the large number of boats which are expected to attend, from both the main system and the Lancaster Canal, and many debates will no doubt ensue.
John Clegg is still trigger-happy --with his camera that is --and has been very busy taking more photographs during the last few months, recording all the work as it proceeds. Many of the latest ones are featured in this monthissue. Thanks go to John who is spending a great deal of his time keeping the web pages fully up-dated. We are receiving numerous comments about the quality of the web site, the address of which is:
or, for anyone who may have difficulty remembering this, Bob Leeming has arranged an alternative link which is:
Once the site has been accessed click the enter button and it takes you direct to John's web pages.
I must also now pass on some very sad news. On the 2nd of August Peter Norris who was Chairman of the Lancaster Canal Boat Club passed away after a serious operation. The funeral service took place in Ormskirk and was attended by a vast number of people. A floral tribute was sent on behalf of all the Trust. Peter had been the Commodore for the club on two occasions and will be sadly missed.
Finally as always I wish to thank all those who give their time and assistance to ensure the smooth running of the Trust and to those who ensure that the publication of the Ripples goes out on time.