Page last updated at 19:39 GMT, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Protest over canal bridge plans

Campaigners are petitioning government transport ministers to raise a Nottinghamshire canal bridge so it does not block boats' access in future.

Work is underway on a £5m project to widen a 17-mile (28km) stretch of the A46 between Newark and Widmerpool.

Plans include a new bridge over the Grantham Canal at Cropwell locks, which will allow boats to pass in future.

But campaigners say the plans are "nonsense" unless another bridge, now too low for boats to pass, is raised.

They say Joshua Mann's bridge, which is 900m (3,000ft) away from the new bridge, needs to be raised by 1.7m (5.5ft) so boats can pass if the currently dry section of waterway is brought into use in future.

The bridge-raising is not currently part of the Highways Agency plans.

Development 'limit'

John Brydon, vice chairman of the Grantham Canal Society, said: "What nonsense - they are building a massive new road bridge to take the A46 over the canal but providing a permanent barrier further down the canal."

The group is urging residents to lobby government transport officials to get Joshua Manns bridge included in the current works.

A Highways Agency spokesman said: "The scheme being constructed, as presented at Public Inquiry, will not prevent Grantham Canal Society from carrying out restoration work on the canal or constructing a new bridge (Joshua Mann's bridge) in the future.

"We are considering the canal society's design for the bridge to see if it is possible to incorporate into our design, and have helped them with some surveying work, looking to see if there is anything we can do but because this particular bridge is outside the scheme boundary, there is a limit to how far we can go."

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The future restoration of Grantham Canal has been thrown into doubt. Enthusiasts say it is all because of the widening of the A46



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