The first phase of major improvement works along the Crinan Canal gets underway this winter, with £3.7 million investment to replace gates in the eastern section.
This planned investment in the Crinan Canal is part of Scottish Canals’ Asset Management Strategy 2018-30, which prioritises improvements on all canal infrastructure in Scotland, based on condition and risk.
The full Crinan Canal has been identified as priority for gate replacement due to condition, age and criticality. Upgrading and replacement of the lock gates along the canal is vital to maintain the navigation of this historic waterway.
Last year, initial surveys and design works were completed on the eastern section of the Crinan Canal, focusing on new steel gates for Locks 1 to 4. As part of Scottish Canals’ Asset Management Plan for 2019-22, the project is progressing with fabrication and installation of gates for this section of the canal.
Works will be undertaken by AmcoGiffen between November 2020 and March 2021, requiring a full canal closure and drain down of the whole eastern section of the Canal, from Lock 8 down to Sea Lock 1 in Ardrishaig.
Alan Boyle – Regional Managing Director (Scotland) for AmcoGiffen commented:
“We’re excited to continue our collaborative relationship with Scottish Canals in undertaking the lock refurbishment works along the picturesque Crinan Canal.
“In preparation, we’ve actively liaised with local stakeholders, and through detailed planning ensured that our commencement considers the safety and environmental sensitivities of working canal-side, whilst protecting the surrounding exquisite wildlife.
“Working in partnership with Scottish Canals, we hope to highlight the fantastic benefits of preserving one of Scotland’s most revered heritage assets so that future generations can enjoy for many years to come.”
The canal will be closed to navigation for the duration of the installation works, and there may be restrictions on the towpath and possibly temporary closures of roads around the locks. Appropriate diversions will be put in place, where required. Scottish Canals will inform stakeholders and the public in advance of any such closures and will minimise any impact as far as practicable throughout the works.
This winter will also see Scottish Canals commence survey and design works for the gates along the western section of the canal, development of upgrades to Cairnbaan Bridge and modifications to both Crinan Ferry Bridge and Oakfield Bridge.
These works will also progress between November 2020 and March 2021. During this period, there may be additional disruption along the canal corridor.
In the new year, a programme of dredging will be undertaken at Ardrishaig Harbour and at critical locations along the canal between January and March 2021.
It is anticipated that the total investment needed to upgrade the infrastructure on the Crinan Canal, including the replacement of all canal gates, is approximately £8-12 million. The full scope of works is expected to take three years to complete and would safeguard the future of the waterway for generations to come.