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Thursday 11 February

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.


Andrew Denny  | 11.38am | add a comment

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