Millennium Mark A MILLENNIUM PROJECT Supported by funds from the National Lottery
The Ribble Link Trust Ltd.
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News File

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 week's time. 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.

Links to the four latest photographs pages are now on the main Photographs page. There are 26 new photographs taken this morning. As usual these include some additional ones which don't fit the sequence on the 'Before and During Construction' pages.

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-sheduled 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.

All the latest photographs are on separate pages. These include some additional ones which don't fit the sequence on the Photographs pages.

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!).

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.

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 theupper 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.

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.

As last week all the latest photographs are on a separate page as there have been favourable comments.

Sat 16th June 2001: The piles at lock 4 are now being securely linked together and ties to the anchor piles put in place. Piling is well advanced on lock 5. Channel works are on going between Leyland Bridge (Lea Road) and the Railway Bridge.

Agreement has been reached with MAFF officials regarding a neutral zone in the farmland West of Lea road leading down to the Ribble and fencing work is now set to continue before the excavating machinery can move in.

As an experiment the sixteen latest photographs are on a separate page. This includes some additional ones which don't fit the sequence on the Photographs pages. i.e Not all of these new photos are on the Photographs pages. Any feedback on this will be appreciated.

Mon 11th June 2001: Piling at lock 4 is complete and the piling contractor has moved the machinery to the site of lock 5. Six new photos are on the Lea Road to the Railway Bridge photographs page.

The contractor has started work at the site of the three rise locks (6, 7 and 8) to the east of Tom Benson Way. The haul roads which will enable the heavy machinery to move up and down the site are being laid, Some initial excavation work at the sites of the turning basin at the bottom of the lock flight and at the mooring basin at the top has been done. Photos soon, I hope!

Test boring at the site of lock 1, which has been delayed, should go ahead soon as should the erection of site fencing through the farm land between the golf course bridge and lock 1 enabling work to start in that area.

Wed 29th May 2001: Excavation work has now started in earnest on both sides of Savick Way as the piling contractor moves onto the site of lock 4. Five new photos are on the Lea Road to the Railway Bridge photographs page.
Fri 18th May 2001: Three new photos of the work at the site of lock 4 and one of work starting near Savick Way are on the Lea Road to the Railway Bridge page.
Thu 10th May 2001: The contractor has started work at the site of lock 4, just east of Lea Road, preparing the haul roads which will enable the heavy machinery to move up and down the site. More plant will be moved on site over the next few days.

Two new photos are on the Lea Road to the Railway Bridge page.

Sun 6th May 2001: Work did not start as expected on the 17th April.

I have just been advised that Gleeson's have at long last received their contract. Work will start almost immediately.

The following item is not really anything directly connected to the Link but on Friday 4th May, while in the centre of Slaithwaite, I came across Dave Dawson and Bosworth heading towards Huddersfield.

In common with others his boat had sustained some damage on the passage through Standedge tunnel. Paint had been scraped off in places and its navigation lights had been knocked off.
(Many of the photographs of the 1999 Ribble Link Cruise were taken from Bosworth.)

Bosworth Bosworth leaving the lock in the centre of Slaithwaite.

Tue 10th April 2001: The main construction work starts on the Link a week today, 17th April, initially at lock 4 and working eastwards towards the three rise locks at the Lancaster Canal end.

It is hoped that agreement will soon be reached with MAFF and the farmers to enable work to proceed on the lower part of the line towards the Ribble. The progress of the project should therefore not be affected.

The Ribble Cruise, in association with AWCC, will be held over the weekend Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd July at Preston Marina. Although thirty boats are already booked in application forms are available from boat clubs (photocopies are acceptable) or from Terry Tomlinson on 0161 998 2170. The fee is £10 which includes mooring for three days.

Tue 20th March 2001: IWA / Waterways Trust Press Release dated 15th March 2001


Full-length locks on the Millennium Ribble Link, the new waterway that will connect the Lancaster Canal to the main inland navigation system, are now set to be constructed.

The funding for the locks was assured today with the news that the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) has guaranteed a total of £45,000. This will be matched by The Waterways Trust, the owner of the new canal. A total of £90,000 was needed to enable all the locks on the Link to be built to pass the standard full-length narrow boat of 72 feet (22m), rather than the 62 feet (l8.9m) length which the budget allowed. This is consistent with the standards of the Lancaster Canal. Navigation of the Link by full- length narrow boats will however require special supervision and manoeuvring where the channel is constrained by the road and rail crossings at Tom Benson Way. British Waterways who will manage the new Link will, if necessary, provide manpower to help full-length craft navigate this pinch-point.

In February 2001, IWA took the initiative to raise extra funds by pledging £20,000 towards the estimated £90,000 required to build full-length locks, and The Waterways Trust offered to match any funds raised by the Association £ for £. The Association called on other organisations with an interest in boating to make contributions to finance the shortfall. The deadline for the decision on constructing the full-length locks was the end of March 2001. Funds raised so far have left a shortfall to be underwritten by IWA at just over an additional £22,000, i.e. around £42,000 in all.

IWA have given their guarantee at this stage so that work can proceed, but their appeal for funds will now remain open.

IWA National Chairman, Richard Drake, said 'IWA is delighted that the scheme to build full-length locks on the Millennium Ribble Link will now definitely go ahead. Raising the additional funding has been a real challenge, given the very short timescale involved, and we are delighted that The Waterways Trust has offered to match all monies raised through IWA's efforts.'

Funding raised for the locks so far includes: £1,000 pledged by the Historic Narrow Boat Owners Club, £500 donated by DBA - The Barge Association, and £500 offered by IWA North Lancs and Cumbria Branch.

For more than 50 years the Inland Waterways Association, and its thousands of members, campaigned for the retention, restoration, conservation and development of Britain's navigable canals and rivers. IWA believes that canals and rivers should be used for commercial and leisure boating and many other activities including education, canoeing, angling, towing path walking and where appropriate, water sports. It seeks to preserve the ecological, heritage and architectural aspects of the country's inland waterways for all.

Since its formation in 1999 The Waterways Trust has: secured the future of the country's three main waterway museums; helped to rescue the Rochdale Canal restoration; facilitated the funding for the Millennium Ribble Link; worked in partnership with others such as the Inland Waterways Association and Anderton Boat Lift Trust to raise over £500,000 for the restoration of Anderton Boat Lift; launched The Waterways Trust Scotland to raise £3.5million for Scotland's waterways.

Fri 9th March 2001: There will be a public exhibition about the Link at Ashton High School, Preston later this month. Details are on the Events page.

The site fencing has been suspended due to the Foot and Mouth restrictions - the line goes through farm land below Lea Road, which the fencing has already reached.

Sun 4th March 2001: A group of volunteers from the Navvies Anonymous section of the IWA's Waterway Recovery Group (WRG), held a working weekend on the Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th March 2001 to clear rough grass and scrub from the banks of the Savick Brook and the footpaths which have been diverted to run outside the site fencing.

Looking east, from Savick Way along the site fence and the newly cleared footpath to, er, nowhere?

Looking west, from Savick Way along the site fence and the newly cleared footpath which runs between the brook and Savick County Primary School towards Ainsdale Drive and Lea Road.

Viv West deep in the brambles.

Al West clearing the path to, er, nowhere?

'Chippy' John and Viv West inching towards the edge of the bank of the brook, which is quite high at this point. The tree stump behind Viv is on the far bank.

The volunteers made use of the facilities at the Ribble Link Centre during the weekend which was organised by Spence Collins of Navvies Anonymous along with Frank Parker of the Ribble Link Trust.

The Trust wishes to thank all those involved for the help given towards the completion of the project.

Fri 9th February 2001
Predator at work to the east of Savick Way bridge.

A close-up of Predator with Savick Way bridge in the background.

Thu 8th February 2001: Work has now started on the ground clearance. The contractors, Ribble Valley Tree Surgeons, are using 'Predator' an American machine which uses a hydraulically operated arm and grab to pick up and feed entire trees into chipping machinery.

I am hoping to take some photos tomorrow.

Wed 7th February
Gleesons site headquarters nearing completion on Monday.

Yellow pegs are appearing in various places along the route, trees & bushes are being marked for removal and the ground clearance work is due to start on Thursday.

IWA To Contribute £20,000 To Ribble Link Lock Lengthening Scheme

The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) has today (1st February) offered a further £20,000 funding towards the Ribble Link.

The current design of the project limits the lock size to accommodating boats up to 62 feet (1 8.9m) long. IWA would like to see these locks built to the standard length to accommodate full-length narrowboats (72 feet (22m)) and be consistent with the standards of the Lancaster Canal. The Waterways Trust, British Waterways and the Ribble Link Trust support the principle of larger locks, but have insufficient funds to build them full length at present.

IWA National Chairman Richard Drake said, 'Our proposals to lengthen the locks will cost an estimated additional £90,000, but lengthening these locks in the future would cost several times that amount. IWA is prepared to put up a further £20,000 to achieve the lengthening of the locks and is calling on other organisations with an interest in boating to make substantial contributions to finance the shortfall.'

Richard Drake added, 'There appears to be no likelihood of any further contributions from landfill operators who have already provided over £800,000 towards the scheme. It is entirely up to organisations concerned with boating to support this scheme. IWA has made an offer and we hope that others will play their part. The final contract for the locks has to be ready by early March so there is no time for a public appeal. Any contributions that are pledged are not required immediately. So long as pledges are made now, it could be up to a year before the money needs to be made available.'

Wed 31st January 2001: Gleesons have now erected their site cabins just out side the gates leading to the Ribble Link Centre and the services are going in at the moment. The ground clearance work should be starting soon, possibly as early as next week.
The more detailed site investigations are continuing and I have added two photographs which were taken on Sunday 14th January to the Farm access bridge to Lea Road photographs page. The unseasonally dry weather is, no doubt, helping the work to go forward. Let's hope it continues!

The latest information I have (11th December) on the progress of the construction of the Link is that the contractors are using the Ribble Link Centre as a temporary base until they erect site cabins and that they were due to begin more detailed site investigations - deeper bore-holes and test trenches - on Wednesday 13th December.

Major constructional activity is not scheduled to begin until early March next year with the work due to take thirty-five weeks. A Grand Opening Cruise is being planned with a tentative date of the second week in May 2002 when the tides are very favourable.

On Tuesday 5th December the first sod was cut at a ceremony organised by British Waterways and The Waterways Trust.

The event took place at the point at which the Link will join the Lancaster canal and had been hurriedly arranged to enable The Waterways Trust to announce it at their AGM on 7th December.

Gleeson's digger poised to cut the first sod.
Ken Hudson (RLT), John Fletcher (Waterways Trust), Frank Parker (Vice-Chairman RLT) and Cliff Fazackerley (Chairman RLT) ignoring the rain!
Cliff being sorely tempted to continue digging!

On the 27th November Lancashire County Council organised an official launch of the project, which took place at Barton Grange Hotel, near Preston. Prior to the official launch we had a photographic session on Ken Hudson's boat - the Marie Celeste. Champagne flowed and the BBC TV Look North cameras were on hand to record the event.

Then slightly later than planned it was back to the hotel to meet representatives of all the main sponsors over a buffet lunch and yet more photographs followed.

The Annual General Meeting of the Trust was held at the Ribble Link Centre at 8pm on Monday 13th November.

Special guests at the meeting were: Andy Berriesford of Gleesons, Roger Hanbury of the Waterways Trust and David Baldacchino of British Waterways.

The Chairman of the Trust, Cliff Fazackerley, announced that finally it's ALL SYSTEMS GO.

After long drawn-out negotiations the Ribble Link Construction and Operations Ltd (a partnership between Lancashire County Council and Ribble Link Trust) have completed the agreement with The Waterways Trust. This leaves the way forward for the project to finally get underway.

Preston Millennium Boat Rally 1st & 2nd July 2000

Last year The Ribble Link Trust announced that the 1999 campaign rally would be the final one and that it intended to hold the grand opening this year. However as we all know that has not been the case and a joint event between The Lancaster Canal Boat Club, Association of Cruising Enthusiasts, The Ribble Link Trust and The Lancaster Canal Trust was organised in it's place. The event took place in Haslam Park, Preston and was officially opened by the Mayor. It had been hoped that the official 'sod-cutting' ceremony would have taken place at the same time, but this had to be cancelled at the last moment.

The weather was fine on the Saturday and attendance at the event was good with fifty-eight boats joining the rally. The majority of which moored on the Lancaster Canal, although a number of boats had sailed along the River Ribble to Preston dock from Tarleton.

The observant ones amongst you may have noticed that the new photographs are of a different format to the previous ones on the site. This is because I have gone digital courtesy of a good deal from Spacetech ( who supplied the camera and also the software to get the photographs into my computer.

28/04/00: AT LAST things are finally happening!

On the 28th April British Waterways took the decision to sign a preliminary contract with Gleesons to enable their designers to start work. This enables Ove Arup - Gleesons design team - to draw up the final detail design to start now, giving the various parties time to sign the agreements over the next few weeks, thus not delaying the project any further.

The announcement came following the visit to the area, on Monday 3rd April, of David Fletcher - Chief Executive British Waterways, Stuart Simm - Operations Director and Derek Cochrane - North West Regional Director. On Tuesday morning the Trust arranged for all three to visit a number of key points along the route of the Link before proceeding to Crooklands, near to, Kendal for the official hand over of the Northern Reaches restoration proposals.

Gleesons will build the Link but British Waterways will be the contract managers and oversee the construction. The Waterways Trust will then lease the waterway back to British Waterways enabling them to carry out the maintenance of the Link for a minimum of 125 years.

The program of works is:
April - detail design;
May - all agreements signed and site cabins set up;
June - construction work on locks 6, 7 & 8;
July - start canalisation of the Savick Brook;
October through to November - locks 1, 2, 2a, 3, 4 & 5 along with the start of landscaping, although this may run through into the following year.

As reported last month The Preston Millennium Boat Rally is being organised by the Lancaster Canal Trust, Lancaster Canal Boat Club, Association of Cruising Enthusiasts & The Ribble Link Trust. The event is to be held in Haslam Park adjacent to the Lancaster Canal on the 1st & 2nd of July, anyone wishing to come by boat from the main system will sail the rivers Douglas & Ribble and use the facilities in Preston's Riversway Marina.

For further details please contact Peter Lang on 01254 851920. Final details are yet to be announced, but it is hoped that a bus service will operate between the marina and the park.

Entertainment has been organised during the day and the evening in the marquee. Also we are planning trips to view the progress being made by Gleesons on the three rise locks.

A rally plaque will be available marking the event and a Celebrating Construction Ribble Link 2000 plaque will also be on sale.

Finally once again we would like to thank all those who have donated their time to the Trust and for all the hard work that has been put in to achieving what was once a pipe dream but is now almost a reality The Ribble Link.

18/04/00: I'm sorry to say that I have nothing that I can add to what is on the site at the moment. I do not have a date for the start of construction - its become very frustrating as we are no longer in direct control of events - progress is now in the hands of British Waterways and Lancashire County Council.
As soon as I have any definite information it will be posted here that evening. The project is not threatened - it will be going ahead.
I can only recommend that you fill in the form on this site so that you will be sent an e-mail each time the site is updated. The Argonet site is no longer being updated as I've run out of space there because of all the photographs.
16/04/00: I have been given the go ahead to publish the Programme of Works which has been drawn up by the contractors for the construction of the Link.
The image is 130K in size so I've put it on a separate page. Click on the thumbnail below for the full size image.
Ribble Link Programme

20/11/99: Well, it would be understood if you all thought we had done a vanishing trick over the past few weeks. Rest assured that this is not the case and, although we are going to be starting construction later than we had hoped, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The work that has gone on behind the scenes over recent weeks should soon come to a successful conclusion.
16/11/99: All the remaining copies of the first edition of Ian Bottrill's book of short boating stories, 'Well, Eye Bee Blowed' which was first on sale at the Festival have now been sold. A second, expanded, edition is now in preparation and copies can be reserved in advance of publication.
The price is £5.95 including p&p. e-mail me for details.
15/9/99: I now have for sale the remaining copies of the first edition of Ian Bottrill's book of short boating stories, 'Well, Eye Bee Blowed' which was first on sale at the Festival.
The price is £4.95 including p&p. e-mail me for details.
14/9/99: Preston Maritime festival was busy and the weather was kind to us apart from a few showers on Saturday.

Gleeson has been selected as the contractor and is working up plans for the construction of the Link although contracts will not be exchanged for a while as there are still one or two other loose ends to tie up. Work is due to start in late October or early November and be completed before the end of 2000 to comply with the Millennium Commission's requirements.

It is now, regrettably, almost certain that the route will have to be shortened by removing the section through Haslam Park. This decision has been taken because of escalating costs due to the various delays in starting the work not being matched by additional funds.

The Link will therefore take a sharp left turn at point just up-stream of the tunnel under Tom Benson Way and run roughly parallel to Tom Benson Way up three locks to a basin at its junction with the Lancaster Canal.

I have started changing the details on the other pages but this will take a day or two to complete.

17/8/99:: Not really news but, as I seem to be making small changes to some pages I am going to try highlighting the latest change as red text and then change it to orange after a week or so, then to normal text after another week or so as here.
27/7/99 Press Release 1: RIBBLE LINK NAVIGATION

Work is set to begin on the Ribble Link Navigation by the end of September and be completed before the end of 2000 to comply with the Millennium Commission's requirements.

Six short listed contractors have been sent documentation to enable them to tender for the work on the Link, they will all be interviewed in August by a panel who will recommend their choice to the Ribble Link board for approval.

The successful contractor will be notified immediately and detailed negotiations will take place during September, contracts will then be exchanged to enable work to commence. It is anticipated that the successful contractor will start almost immediately and complete the works before the end of 2000.

This year's campaign cruise (in conjunction with the Preston Maritime Festival) is being held over the weekend of the 11th & 12th of September 1999 with additional sailings to and from Tarleton on the 10th and 13th September. This will effectively be the last cruise, as next year's event should form part of the opening ceremony.

For further details of either the Trust or the Cruise contact Frank & Irene Parker on 01772-717367 or for more information on the Maritime Festival contact Andrew Harris on 0585-448495.

27/7/99 Press Release 2:


The Ribble Link Trust have commissioned Video Active to record the Building of the first Canal of its type this Century.

Video Active are to record all events from beginning to end. They will film various stages of the construction along with the opening ceremony. They have now completed their first section of the film which shows the full length of the route before work commences, the next stage will be to film various stages of construction and a cruise along the finished waterway.

The Trust's aims are to release three different videos. The first will be a fully edited version of the route and the entire construction. The second video will be a limited edition which will include all archive footage, these will be supplied with a numbered certificate of authenticity. The third will be a comprehensive video comprising of, the Rufford branch, the cruise along both the River Douglas and River Ribble, the Ribble link Navigation and onto the Lancaster Canal.

They will also be filming this year's campaign cruise from Tarleton to Preston which will be held over the period of the 10th & 13th of September 1999. This will effectively be the last cruise of its type as next year's event will be filmed as part of the inaugural cruise.

For further details regarding any of the above please contact Frank & Irene Parker on 01772-717367

26/7/99: The Trust is now in the final stages of appointing a contractor to build the Link. Representatives of the six short-listed contractors will be interviewed in mid-August by a panel including members from Babties, British Waterways and Lancashire County Council.

The building of the Link is due to begin in late September or early October of this year and is due to be completed before the end of 2000 to comply with the terms of the funding from the Millennium Commission.

Once again my call goes out to anyone who would like to donate or would like to help, please contact any committee member or myself. If you would like to take up life membership, with your donation going via Lancashire County Council and a Landfill operator, please contact our membership secretary Chris Gulley.

25/7/99: The current construction work in Haslam Park is only indirectly connected with the Ribble Link. It is to contain a holding tank for waste water and is being built by (for?) North West Water. It's purpose is to prevent overflow discharge into the Savick Brook at times of high flow, such as a cloudburst, and then release it more slowly into the sewage system.

This will, in due course, benefit the navigation when it is built by reducing the possibility of contamination remaining in the pounds between locks following a flood condition.

15/7/99: The start date of the project has now been put back a little. The latest program for work to commence is now September 1999, although the completion date is still planned to be before the end of 2000. The contractor will be appointed in the next few weeks.

The provisional plans to have a grand opening, due to take place at Haslam Park in mid-2000, have been put on hold for the time being but further details will be announced once the contractor has had time to produce a full program of works.

Once again my call goes out to anyone who would like to donate or would like to help, please contact any committee member or myself. If you would like to take up life membership, with your donation going via Lancashire County Council and a Landfill operator, please contact our membership secretary Chris Gulley.

28/4/99: After a rather longer delay than I expected I am very pleased to announce that the Environment Agency has agreed that the last outstanding condition of the planning permission for the Ribble Link has now been met and that the Environment Agency will be working with the Ribble Link Trust to ensure that the scheme goes ahead.
8/3/99: There is still just one condition of the planning permission yet to be complied with, the Environment Agency has yet to accept that the water quality will be satisfactory under all heavy rainfall conditions.

This is being addressed at the moment. The waterway will be narrowed slightly and the necessary water flow modelling is being recalculated.

A decision should be forthcoming later this month and construction should begin at the end of May or beginning of June. The work will still be completed before the end of the Millennium year.

3/2/99: Preliminary details of this year's Cruise can be found on the Events page and articles from the December edition of Ripples have been added to the magazine page.
2/2/99: My apologies for the lack of updates for a while due to an illness and tragic bereavement in the family. However, not a lot has been happening recently.

The Trust is in the final stages of discussions with the Environment Agency on water quality issues.

Lancashire County Council is in the process of reducing to three the short list of contractors who submitted tenders to build the Link.

As of ten days ago the projected completion date was around mid-May 2000 but this could be subject to some slippage due to, for example, adverse weather conditions or a later start than anticipated.

16/11/98: All the required land has either been or is in the final stages of being purchased. Ground investigation studies have been completed. Water quality and resources issues are being addressed. British Waterways is confident there will be no water supply problem.

The IWA and WRG have given support to the Trust and the Ribble Link Centre has been completed to a high standard.

A change in the line of the navigation due to a landowner refusing to sell land to the Trust has necessitated a reapplication for planning permission. As soon as this is obtained along with final consents from the Environment Agency a contractor will be appointed. Building is due to commence in February 1999 with completion and opening due before the end of 2000.

British Waterways will take over and maintain the Link, providing two lock keepers to assist boaters and advise on safety.

12/10/98: British Waterways have stated that, as the Link is a new waterway, the design and materials should reflect this so traditional methods need not be used. The consulting engineers, however, favour some conventional brick arch bridges as opposed to reinforced concrete because of the structural problems associated with the latter type of construction.

The board of the Ribble Link Construction and Operations Ltd., consisting of two members of the Trust and two from Lancashire County Council, met in July and agreed to sign a legal agreement with the Millennium Commission. The signing of this document took place in early September.

The solicitors have been hard at work trying to tie up all the loose ends regarding land acquisition and these now appear to have been resolved. All but four of the contracts are ready to be signed and the remainder are agreed and only awaiting draft contracts.

On the 2nd of September another significant meeting took place between LCC, Babtie and the Environment Agency to discuss the water quality and flooding issues. It is hoped that the final information can be in place by mid October / November and that all issues can be resolved thus allowing work to commence early next year.

This year's Cruise and Maritime Festival was a success as far as numbers of boats attending. However, as you all know, the weather was none to kind and Sunday was a bit of a wash out, still the sail was good. Because of the strong winds on the Sunday the firework display was postponed and re-scheduled to take place in August.

Next year the Cruise will be held later in the year in an attempt to find better weather, the dates have now been announced as the 11th & 12th Sept 1999.

On the 24th & 25th of August Derek Cochrane (British Waterways NW Manager) and Ian Selby (British Waterways Engineer) joined us to see at first hand the route and to study the Savick Brook. They are now fully committed to the scheme and are keen to help resolve any outstanding issues. They consider the project to be a major boost to the canal network.

This year's Annual General Meeting was held on Wednesday 11th November at the Ribble Link Centre (Preston Marina Boat Yard), Lockside Road, Riversway.

It now looks likely that two locks (8 & 9) in Sharoe Brook will be built in reinforced concrete as a two rise and that the same shuttering could be used to build other locks. There will be a mooring basin between lock 9 and the junction with the Lancaster Canal. The line has also been moved slightly to the south between Tom Benson Way and the confluence of the Savick and Sharoe Brooks.

Additional funds have recently been secured to assure the long term maintenance of the navigation by British Waterways.

The Ribble Link Trust has been working hard to to raise the remaining money needed in matching funding for the construction of the navigation and this has now been secured.

Bores have been sunk and trenches dug which confirm that subsoil conditions are as expected and pose no problems to the construction of the Link.

An invertebrate study, a brackish water study and a breeding bird survey have all been undertaken in compliance with the conditions of the planning permission.

WRG held a work camp on the Link on the weekend of the 28th/29th March 1998.

As things progress with the construction of the Link these pages will be up-dated regularly. Through the Photographs pages you will be able to follow the work as it goes forward.

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Last Revised: Sat 22nd December 2001

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