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Floating tractor clears a blockage in Standedge Tunnel

A specialist ‘amphibious tractor’ is venturing into Standedge Tunnel to clear a blockage that built up during the recent heavy downpours that caused widespread flooding across the North of England.


The unusual work, which requires the help of a specialist mining consultant, is expected to take two days to complete.  A hydraulic bucket on the front of the amphibious dredger, known as a Truxor, will be used to clear the blockage so that boats will once again be able to navigate the 3¼ miles through the tunnel.


It is thought that during the unprecedented wet weather, approximately 8-9 cubic metres of sand, gravel and other debris were swept into the tunnel by a stream that flows into the tunnel about 250 metres from its entrance at Diggle.


Mark Weatherall, senior project manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “Working deep underground in a tunnel on a floating dredger is quite unusual and poses many new problems.  Not only have we had to bring in specialist equipment, we’ve had to take specialist advice from a mining consultant who is experienced in confined spaces.”


The work to clear the blockage should not affect the tunnel's reopening for the 2016 summer season on 19th March.


Thursday 11 February  | Andrew Denny  | 11.38am, Thursday 11 February 2016

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