The river has long been used for the transport of salt. Between 1720 and 1829, Acts were passed to improve navigation, enabling the salt industry around Northwich, Middlewich and Winsford to flourish. The navigation was lucrative throughout the nineteenth century. The boat lift was opened at Anderton in 1875 to increase traffic between the Trent and Mersey Canal and the river. However, salt chutes also continued to be used to load salt from the canal barges. Chemical corrosion caused the original lift to corrode and, in 1906, a new lift was constructed. Air pollution caused this lift to corrode and it ceased operating in 1983. In 1986, the Anderton Boat Lift Trust was formed to promote its restoration and, in 1994, the lift was listed as an ancient monument. With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, The Waterways Trust, the Friends of Anderton Boat Lift, the Anderton Boat Lift Trust, IWA and others, the lift was reopened in 2002.