Photo: Bridgewater Canal by Adrian & Gillian Padfield
Proposals to restore Runcorn Locks at the western extremity of the Bridgewater Canal have been under consideration for a number of years and are, in principle, supported by Halton Borough Council. IWA’s 2005 National Festival & Inland Boat Show was held at nearby Preston Brook partly with a view to demonstrate support for the restoration of this waterway connection, and to follow on the work of IWA’s National Campaign Rally held in Runcorn the previous year by IWA’s Chester and District Branch.
A Runcorn Locks Restoration Society was formed in 2004 but restoration has been unable to proceed as the link roads of the ‘Silver Jubilee’ bridge across the Mersey have blocked the route at the current head of navigation of the Runcorn arm. Work has now commenced on the construction of a replacement ‘Mersey Gateway' bridge and the link roads will no longer be required once it is open clearing the route for a restoration.
There have been studies commissioned into the redevelopment of Runcorn docks which might allow an even a more ambitious objective. The Runcorn & Weston Canal used run alongside the docks and if this connection could be re-established it would create a new cruising ring joining the River Weaver to the the Bridgewater Canal without having to venture onto the Manchester Ship Canal. The line of the former Runcorn & Weston Canal does have some obstructions but a redevelopment plan could easily incorporate an alternative route.