West Midlands canal routes reopened but another closes

repairs in progress at Minworth

repairs in progress at Minworth - Credit: Archant

Two important West Midlands canal routes reopened today

Two important West Midlands canal routes reopened today after closures for emergency repairs – but at the same time, another route has closed.

Lock 20 on the Wolverhampton flight of 21, part of the Birmingham Canal Navigations Main Line, had to be closed in late June after a lock wall was found to have subsided inwards. This occurred shortly after a flood caused by vandals opening lock paddles further up the flight, which the Canal & River Trust believes is responsible for the failure. Several weeks’ work to remove and replace damaged brickwork enabled the lock to reopen on 12 August.

On the same day, Minworth Locks on the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal were also reopened following repair works to the canal bank between the locks, a job which had been made more complicated by a high capacity gas main buried under the towpath, making it difficult to get heavy machinery to the site.

The reopenings have opened up two key routes into the BCN network, but at the same time another lock problem has caused a further closure. Smethwick Locks on the Old Main Line have been closed until further notice owing to movement of a chamber wall on the top lock. However there are alternative routes available including the New Main Line or Spon Lane Locks.

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