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Page last updated at 14:53 GMT, Wednesday, 7 July 2010 15:53 UK
Caldon Canal reopened by British Waterways after breach
The view looking south towards Leek tunnel, by Julie Arnold Waterway Images
The hole first opened up in the canal in November 2009

British Waterways has reopened the Caldon Canal, following a breach eight months ago in November 2009.

Investigations, plans and work for the repair of the section of canal in Leek, Staffordshire cost £500,000.

The breach resulted in the collapse of a 15m length of canal embankment and damage to the canal bed and its lining.

As a consequence approximately 21 million gallons of water leaked across agricultural land and into the River Churnet.

Repairs will hopefully ensure the canal remains watertight; and a number of sections of embankment have been reinforced to reduce the risk of future leakages.

Historic weakness

Following the breach, temporary dams were put in place at Leek Tunnel closing access to the three-quarters-of-a-mile length of canal between the tunnel and the canal terminus.

Fencing was also put in place to prevent towpath users accessing the breach site.

Now the dams and fencing have been removed enabling people to enjoy the full length of the canal once more.

The repair work was praised by Julie Arnold, Chair of the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust (CUCT).

Testing period

The works were completed in late June and, following a period of testing to ensure that the repairs were watertight, the canal was reopened on the evening of 5 July.

The investigations carried out by British Waterways engineers indicated that it may have been due to an historic weakness in an old culvert.

Darren Green, waterway manager for British Waterways said: "We're very pleased that the repairs are complete and that we can reopen the canal.

"Our boating customers and the local community have shown great patience and we're delighted that they can now enjoy the remaining summer months on the canal."

Breach prompts UK canals review
15 Apr 10 |  Staffordshire
Repairs under way on canal breach
07 Apr 10 |  Staffordshire
Possible tours of collapsed canal
13 Dec 09 |  Staffordshire

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