Reporter, Thursday, 27th June, 2002
New canal link is set to bring true a 200-year old dream
PRESTON’S new stretch of canal will be completed on time next month.

The main construction work on the Ribble Link should be finished by Friday July 12.

It will then enter a commissioning phase to bring it up to full operational standard.

Further bank work and footpath installation will continue for several weeks into the summer.

The new link will realise a 200-year old dream to connect the Lancaster Canal with the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the rest of the inland waterway network.

Photograph: LAST OF THE LOCK GATES: The last of the traditional style lock gates being lifted into position on the Ribble Lionk site at Tudor Lane.

Last of the lock gates

The start of the commissioning period will be marked by a three-day exhibition in Preston Dock from July 12-14.

The weekend will also be marked by the Ribble Link Trust’s celebration cruise.

Project manager David Baldacchino said: ”The project is on course for completion after setbacks caused by the foot-and-mouth outbreak and consistently poor weather.”

“We have worked round the clock to ensure this massive project has been finished on schedule.”

“The link will be open to navigation on July 12, for a commissioning period, followed by an official opening later in the year.”

The Waterways Trust, which owns the link, has set the tariff.

Leisure craft using the link will pay £35 for a one way trip, £60 return, with individually negociated agreements for commercial craft and working boats.


[Editors Note: see The Old Tram Road for more details of how the Ribble Link completes part of a plan first laid out more than two centuries ago.]

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© Reporter, June 2002