Last Friday, SUMBA arranged for Steve McGuire, CRT's local Operations Manager, to accompany Dave Wallis and Graham Russell along the towpath between bridges 11 and 14, to carry out a visual inspection of its condition. The towpath forms the canal section of the proposed village signed circular walk.
Towpath: Between bridges 11 and 13 several sections were identified where the wet surface is uneven, muddy and very slippery. These require widening and levelling with an appropriate gritted surface to provide year round safety.
Bridge Access: Bridge 11 – The towpath width immediately below the steps is very narrow and anyone slipping or tripping could have a wet experience. For safety, the towpath either side of the bridge requires a gritted surface.
Bridge 14 – Below the bottom step the ground to the inside falls away down an embankment. The step's r/h handrail needs extending along the embankment.
Underwater Obstructions: For boaters there are numerous sections of the canal where the old towpath edge has fallen in and the concrete is a potentially dangerous underwater obstruction. Either the obstructions require removing or the towpath edge re-routing around the fallen sections.
48hr Mooring Viewpoint Overlooking The Village: It has been proposed that a bench and a village "information board" be located at the viewpoint. SUMBA is pleased to inform everyone that Steve McGuire has approval these installations. Due to the land sloping down from the towpath some levelling work will be required.
The Next Steps: During January, together with Kerry Bannon, SUMBA is meeting a designer to -
(1) Discuss the design and content of the viewpoint information board and
(2) Access and directional signage at bridges 11 and 14.
In February, Geoff Harris and Graham Russell, will carry out a full written, measured and photographic audit of the issues which were identified during the inspection. This will be submitted to CRT.
In approx. April 2015, it is proposed that CRT's engineers will visit the towpath to design the improvements and calculate the materials, etc. required.
The towpath improvements and installations etc. will mainly be carried out by SUMBA's volunteers – with CRT's assistance. Subject to funding and signage design approval etc., SUMBA is intending to phase the work over the summer.