BRITISH WATERWAYS this week revealed plans to spend up to £350M renewing and extending the UK's vast canal network.
Work will include construction of the first new stretch of canal in over a century, plus new landmark projects to rival the Anderton Boat Lift restoration and Falkirk Wheel boat lift, both of which will be opened within the next month.
The investment builds on the £200M spending programme under way, with the new work as technically challenging to match the most complex projects completed to date, said director of operations Stewart Sim.
Collapsed tunnels will be reopened plus derelict aqueducts and a rare boat lift rescued. But still greater engineering innovation will reconnect canals severed by roads and negotiate hills on the new 32km Milton Keynes to Bedford waterway. Costing £80M to £150M, this will connect the Grand Union Canal and the Great Ouse River.
Montgomery Canal between Frankton Junction, Shropshire, and Welshpool and Newtown, Powys. First phase: 56km, £35M.
Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal, including two major aqueducts, a flight of 17 locks and construction of tunnel at Salford:
Leeds and Liverpool Canal extension linking to Liverpool's South Docks: 700m, £15M.
Foxton inclined plane boat lift on the Leicester line of the Grand Union Canal. The lift dates from between 1898 and 1900: £9M.
Droitwich Barge Canal and Droitwich Junction Canal link to the River Severn and Worcester & Birmingham Canal. £3M.
Cotswold Canals, including the 4km long Sapperton Tunnel and 57 locks. 59km, £82M.
Reconnection of the northern reaches of the Lancaster Canal, severed by the M6: £30M.
INFOPLUS www. britishwaterways. com/restoration www. nceplus.co.uk