The Route of the LinkIn 1981 the preliminary survey suggested three possible routes for the Link but only one remains, the other two having been developed as housing estates, and is registered with Preston Borough Council who have granted full planning permission, subject to a number of conditions.
There are no major obstacles on the route and Preston Borough Council and the Lancashire County Council have shown support for the project. They are enthusiastic about promoting the Link to generate traffic for Preston Dock in its new capacity as a water sports centre and the site of Preston Maritime Festival. Developments at the dock already include a marina and shopping facilities whilst the centre of Preston can be reached in a ten-minute walk.
In this satellite photograph (taken from The Sunday Times CD - window on the uk 2000) the rectangle outlined in black shows the area covered by the map below and its relationship to Preston and the River Ribble.
The M6 motorway can be seen running northwards, around the eastern side of Preston, from its junction with the M61 at the bottom right-hand corner.
The Route in Detail
From the start at lock 1 the route goes under Blackpool Road and behind the Lea Gate Hotel before passing the pumping station.
From the pumping station the route twists and turns through lock 2 and the mooring basin to Goodyear's bridge. Note: Two bridges which were previously shown crossing the navigation and the by-wash channel of lock 2 are no longer in the plans.
From Goodyear's bridge there is a relatively straight section to lock 2a and the golf course footbridge.
Beyond the footbridge the route passes between the golf course and the BNFL sports ground before going under the golf course access bridge on the way to lock 3.
From lock 3 the route is almost straight to Leyland Bridge where the tow-path takes a detour around the church. After lock 4 come two sharp bends first to the left and then the right.
Next is the bridge carrying Savick Way followed by a straight section leading through lock 5 then on to the tunnel under the Preston to Blackpool railway line.
After a slight turn to the right the route passes under Tom Benson Way from which the route emerges into a small basin. Here boats can turn and moor before ascending locks 6, 7 and 8 to the level of the Lancaster Canal.
Overall LengthThe start of the navigation is one and a half miles down river from Preston Riversway at the confluence of the River Ribble and Savick Brook. From here the route follows the course of the Savick Brook to a point west of Cottam Mill Bridge (No. 16) on the Lancaster Canal, an overall distance of almost 4 miles.
Number and Size of LocksIt is proposed there will be nine locks in total, lowering the water level from the canal to the Ribble by approximately 18.1m (59').
The locks will be 22m (72') long and 4.27m (14'3") wide.
ConstructionAt the junction with the Lancaster Canal a contemporary steel arch bridge will carry the tow-path over the entry to the Link. All the lock side walls will be constructed from sheet steel piles with steel-reinforced concrete bottoms, cills and gate mountings. At the bottom of the three-rise locks a turning basin, 40m long by 20m wide, will be created to enable boats to make a sharp turn between the locks and the tunnels under the Tom Benson Way and railway. There will also be a landing stage at which boats can moor while waiting to use the locks.
The construction of the banks will vary depending on their stability. In some instances it will again be sheet piling with other locations being either gabions - a type of stone-filled netting or re-cycled plastic. There will also be a landing stage at which boats can moor while waiting for passage. As far as possible the necessary works will be confined to one bank of the brook and the other side will be left in its natural state.
StructuresThere are five major bridges which cross the route, none of which need major modification. In addition there are four minor bridges which need to be modified as do three of the four sewerage pipes which also cross the route.
DistancesFrom the Ribble Link Navigation to:
Budget CostsWe have estimated the cost of building the navigation at approximately £5.4M.
Send questions and comments to RLT@aaug.net
Last Revised: Wed 13th March 2002
Copyright © 1997-2001 by John Clegg, Cliff Fazackerley and the Ribble Link Trust Ltd.