North Portal - Rochdale Canal M62 Tunnel - Middleton, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
N 53° 35.112 W 002° 10.637
30U E 554462 N 5937687
Quick Description: This canal tunnel on the Rochdale canal was originally a road tunnel.
Location: North West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 2/15/2014 3:12:37 PM
Waymark Code: WMK5BQ
Views: 2

Long Description:

The Canal History
The Rochdale canal is 32 miles long and connects Manchester on the west side of the Pennine Hills and Sowerby Bridge on the east side. It was completed in 1804 and is one of three canals that cross the Pennine hills. This is the only one that doesn’t use tunnels. In addition it was a broad canal with bridges and locks that allowed boats of 14 feet width to pass through.

Competition from railways and roads subsequently led to a decline in goods being carried and by 1937 the only section left in operation was at the Manchester end of the canal.

In 1965 there was talk of abandoning the canal but by this time leisure boating had become very popular in the UK and there was a campaign to keep it open. Work was started to repair the canal and the whole length finally reopened in September 2007. As well as leisure boats, the canal attracts lots of walkers and cyclists along the tow path.

Details of the tunnel
In the 1960s when the canal was no longer being used, the M62 motorway was built across the canal, cutting it in two and blocking the route.

When work started on the renovation of the canal a way had to be found to get the canal underneath the motorway. When the M62 was built it also cut some farmland in half. In order to give the farm house access to both sides of the motorway a tunnel was built and an access road placed through it.

The solution to the blocked canal route was to divert the canal through the tunnel and build new farm access roads over the canal. A lock on the north side of the motorway was converted to a through route, and a brand new lock built on the south side of the M62.

The funding of the work for this diversion was funded by The Millennium Commission Lottery Fund and was completed in 2002.

This Pennine Waterways Rochdale Canal website has pictures showing various stages of the construction work. link The width of the existing tunnel was not wide enough for a tow path and to allow 14 feet wide boats through. However most boats on the canal are narrow boats and so a floating pontoon is normally kept in the tunnel and is used to carry the tow path. On those occasions when a broad boat needs to use the tunnel the pontoon is temporarily moved out of the way whilst the boat passes through.
Is the Tunnel in Use?: In Use

Which End is this Entrance?: North

Date Constructed: 1/1/1960

Length of Tunnel: Width of a 6 lane motorway

Construction Material: Concrete

Associated Website: [Web Link]

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