PART of Basingstoke Canal is to be drained during the remainder of this month and February.
The 1.7km stretch from Monument Bridge through to Skew Bridge (A324) in Woking will be emptied so that Surrey County Council can replace the Rive Ditch Culvert that runs under the canal from Horsell Common, just downstream from Boundary Road Recreation Ground.
The canal will be gradually drained over a period of two to four days, and ‘stop planks’ installed to hold back the waters either side of the work area.
Canal water levels will be lowered either side of the stretch to help with water management, which will be carefully monitored by the Basingstoke Canal Authority. Prior to this, a ‘fish rescue’ will be carried out to prevent any unnecessary harm on local wildlife. The Canal Authority has already assessed the effects on rare water plants which the waterway is renowned for.
A consultant botanist has advised how best to protect the rare species during the drain down, and advises that many of them actually benefit from short periods of draining.
While empty, the Canal Authority will take the opportunity to clear out any rubbish and complete any other jobs that are easier to do when the waterway is drained.
Some preparation work may also take place for the Woking Canal Festival in August, which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the authority, and 25 years since the historic canal formally re-opened. Work may also include preparation for the extension of Woking Town Wharf near the Bedser Bridge.
Anyone who has any concerns about the work can contact the Basingstoke Canal Authority on 01252 370073.