Environment Agency launches Thames lock improvement programme
The Environment Agency has launched a £2.1M programme of improvements to River Thames locks, as part of its annual winter programme of infrastructure investment.
The work will support recreational and commercial boating along 135-mile stretch of the River Thames.
Major projects will be carried out at five of the 45 lock sites it owns and operates from Cricklade in Wiltshire to Teddington in Middlesex – but all sites will benefit from some level of investment.
Barry Russell, River Thames Waterways Manager, at the Environment Agency, said: “This year’s £2.1M programme of work is one of the most extensive for some time.
“The work our specialist navigation engineers, craftsmen and contractors will carry out is absolutely vital. It will directly support both recreational and commercial boating on the Thames, and indirectly support the many thousands of businesses along the river sustained by the spending power of our boating customers. That’s not just marinas, boat yards and chandleries, but shops, hotels, restaurants, pubs, visitor attractions and so on.”
Major schemes covered under the programme include; the refurbishment of the concrete-lined chamber of the launch locks at Teddington Lock, Middlesex and Caversham Lock, Reading; fabricating four brand new gates for Day’s Lock, Little Wittenham, near Abingdon, Oxfordshire; replacing the facing timber and balance beams on all four lock gates at Rushey Lock, Buckland Marsh; and replacing the facing timber on all four lock gates at Molesey Lock, East Molesey.
Additional works include refurbishing the concrete sill underneath the tail gates at Cookham Lock near Maidenhead in Berkshire, structural surveys of the lock chambers at King’s Lock near Wolvercote in Oxfordshire and Whitchurch Lock near Reading in Berkshire. The agency is also refurbishing mooring facilities at Blake’s Lock in Reading.
Other work being carried out as part of this year’s programme includes upgrading lock control systems; repairs to numerous towpath bridges; bank protection works at a number of locations; improved site-security systems and a survey of all lock offices to check on their condition and identify where improvements could be made to improve staff welfare and facilitate greater commercial activity.
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