Grand Western Canal Re-Opens19 March 2014
The Grand Western Canal and towpath was officially re-opened on 19th March after the completion of structural repairs to a breached embankment at Halberton, caused by severe weather in November 2012.
A group gathered at Swing Bridge for the official re-opening of the canal by the Chairman of Devon County Council, Councillor Bernard Hughes.
The Grand Western Canal suffered a serious breach of its northern bank in November 2012, which closed a half-mile stretch of the canal between Greenway Bridge and Rock Bridge. After the incident, Devon County Council and its partners developed a programme of works to repair the breach and introduce new measures to reduce the likelihood of a breach in the future. These new measures included inspections of all infrastructure along the canal, the installation of a water level monitoring and alarm system, additional and improved stop boards and an increase in the height of the embankment.
There is to be a second phase of works that will be informed by the results of a detailed hydrological survey of the canal and the surrounding catchments. The plan is to construct new sluices and weirs to further improve the canal’s resistance to breaches through a greater ability to control water levels.
The works were carried out by contractor South West Highways Ltd and were finished in time for the canal’s 200th anniversary celebrations, which includes the IWA 2014 National Trailboat Festival. The festival is to be held over the late May Bank Holiday with the main event at the Mid-Devon Showground on 24th May and several satellite events along the length of the canal on the 25th and 26th May.