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Middlewood Lock Restoration

VolkerStevin was tasked with restoring a section of the Middlewood Locks in Salford, Manchester.


Originally, the canal and locks had been made to make way for incoming industry and the construction of the Manchester ring road. However, the industries in this area soon demised and, as a result, the Middlewood lock became derelict.  

What we did

When the ring road was constructed, the project team had the foresight to design and install secant piling along the line of the canal and construct a suitably reinforced concrete roof slab. This meant that we were able to reinstate the 500m-long canal.

The project ran from the canal’s interface with the River Irwell, where we installed a cofferdam and managed to retain the existing lock structure. We excavated and cleared the old foundations and services, restored the locks and realigned the canal channels. We also tunnelled under one of the busiest roads in Manchester City Centre, constructed new basins and built the deepest canal lock in the country.

Project successes

We helped British Waterways reach a major landmark in their overall goal to restore the canal across Manchester, Bolton and Bury and completed the most challenging aspect of their vision, providing lessons that could be carried out across the rest of the project.

"The waterways in the northwest which were once vital for industry are still playing an important role in society. Rather than carrying goods and raw materials, the restored canal will be an attractive place to live, work and to spend leisure time. The restoration of one of the last major waterways in Manchester shows just how much the fortunes of the canals have changed."

Robin Evans Chief Executive of British Waterways