Collapsed canal lock near Arla to reopen this month

The Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union canal is finally set to reopen following extensive repairs to Buckland Lock after a wall collapsed in April.

The wall of the lock, which is yards from the Arla megadairy, buckled out by two metres, leaving it impossible for boats to pass through.

Rebuilding of Lock 12 at Buckland nearing completion

Rebuilding of Lock 12 at Buckland nearing completion

As a result, the passage had to be closed and canal boats trapped in Aylesbury had to be craned out to bypass the blockage.

Lock 12 now has an opening date of November 25, and the construction team are confident that they are on target to meet that deadline.

It had initially been hoped that the lock would be open for use in time for the August bank holiday weekend.

Project manager Nick Lewis explained that the undertaking was more difficult than first expected.

Rebuilding of Lock 12 at Buckland nearing completion

Rebuilding of Lock 12 at Buckland nearing completion

He said: “The job was more complicated than we originally thought, and we want to make sure that it’s done right.

“Sometimes it’s better to take a step back and make sure that you do something to last.

“We are very confident now that this will last, hopefully for another 200 years like the first build.”

The work, which has been financed by the Canal and River Trust, has fully rebuilt and reinforced the wall.

Rebuilding of Lock 12 at Buckland nearing completion - pictured is senior project manager Nick Lewis

Rebuilding of Lock 12 at Buckland nearing completion - pictured is senior project manager Nick Lewis

Twenty-seven concrete and steel filled drill holes now protect a 450 tonne concrete wall, all behind the wall of the lock itself which has been reconstructed from specially made bricks.

Despite the age of much of Aylesbury’s canal system, Mr Lewis is confident that similar issues across the area are unlikely.

“The canals here are inspected regularly, this was really just a freak event.

“We have no report on the cause of the collapse at this stage. We employ a team of engineers to investigate these matters, and the results of that investigation are due imminently.”

The extent of the repairs has taken its toll on the charity’s budget and had an impact on other building work in the area.

Mr Lewis said: “Other things have had to take a hit while we get this completed. That’s just the nature of working on a defined budget.

“But we’ve been doing our best to keep people happy. It will be nice to get it back open again and we can see some boats coming through here.”

Opened in 1839, the Aylesbury arm is just over six miles long and home to 16 locks.

It is a key destination for boaters wanting to visit the centre of Aylesbury and the waterside development at Aylesbury Basin.