The Canal & River Trust has launched an appeal for funds following a breach on the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal, which swept away a 70-meter section of the 200-year-old canal.
According to the Trust, they are still investigating the precise reason for the breach but at this stage it is believed that it was most likely caused by an increase flow of water along the canal due to paddles at lock gates being left open.
The increased flow is likely to have overtopped the canal at the breach site which, together with an already sodden embankment following a wet winter, caused the bank to wash away.
Engineers have estimated that the repairs will cost between £2 million to £3 million and are likely to take many months.
Ani Sutton, The Canal & River Trust engagement manager said: “Breaches like this are very rare but, as a charity, something of this scale and cost really sets us back, diverting precious resources from other work on the waterways. We’ve launched an emergency appeal to raise money towards the repairs. We want to thank everyone who has already donated.”
The canal was initially drained between Stanthorne Lock and Wardle Lock, on the south side of Middlewich town center, a distance of just over three quarters of a mile. The towpath has also been closed along this stretch.