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New lock provides sustainable legacy for London

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The first new lock to be built in London for 20 years has been officially opened bringing a stretch of London waterways back in to navigation in time to receive freight barges for major construction sites in the Stratford area.
Three mills lock
Three Mills Lock, constructed by civil engineering contractor VolkerStevin, was officially opened by British Waterways Chairman, Tony Hales and Olympic Delivery Authority Chairman John Armitt. A tug and barge, flanked by a flotilla of colourful narrowboats locked in and out of the new structure, putting the lock gates through their paces ahead of planned freight deliveries scheduled for later in the month.

The opening marks the completion of a £20m contract for VolkerStevin which has involved the construction of the 62m long by 8m wide lock as well as three fixed weirs, two adjustable weirs, a fish pass and a lock control building with all associated mechanical and electrical work.

Three Mills Lock at Prescott Channel accommodates 350 tonne barges, which will travel from the Thames through the lock into the Bow Back Rivers to serve major construction sites in the east end of London. Thus providing a sustainable alternative for the delivery of construction materials and the removal of waste materials.

Jim McNeilly, managing director at VolkerStevin said: "We are delighted to be celebrating the opening of this lock with our client British Waterways and all the partners of the project. To be involved in such a long term legacy for London is a privilege and we look forward to seeing how the area develops following the revitalisation of these waterways."

"This design and build contract was challenging and our project team should be proud of what they have achieved."

Tony Hales, chairman of British Waterways, added: "As guardians of the UK's canals and rivers I am thrilled to see Three Mills Lock open today, and show everyone how the waterways can play an integral role in the regeneration of this area of London. Rejuvenating the waterways of east London has been a long term goal for British Waterways. "

The contract also involved new infrastructure including extensive landscaping, street lighting, new footpaths and a new footbridge. In the longer term the project will allow new opportunities for leisure boats, water taxis, trip boats and floating restaurants creating the potential for a major boating destination in the area.

Three Mills Lock and associated water control structures were funded by British Waterways, the Department for Transport, London Thames Gateway Development Corporation, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Olympic Delivery Authority, London Development Agency and Transport for London.

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