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Extensive Winter Works Programme on Northern Ireland Inland Waterways

17th November 2020
Dredging on the Lower Bann Dredging on the Lower Bann Photo: Waterways Ireland

Waterways Ireland says it is undertaking a “significant programme” of maintenance works on inland waterways in Northern Ireland over the winter period.

On the Lower Bann, which connects Lough Neagh to the sea north of Coleraine, works will focus on maintaining safe access to and navigability of the river channel.

Dredging has already been completed downstream of the Cutts Lock in Coleraine, with more than 1,000 cubic metres of material removed.

A similar dredging programme is taking place this month in Movanagher to remove 200 cubic metres of material, while the mouth of Toome Canal will be dredged in early 2021.

Dredging of river-deposited material ensures the locks gates can operate and the channel remains clear enough for boats to pass, Waterways Ireland says.

Elsewhere, new upstream lock gates will be installed at the Carnroe lock, which last had its gates replaced more than 50 years ago.

Next year, Waterways Ireland will begin work on a two-year project to repair the weir at Carnoe and install a fish pass after planning permission was granted.

Winter is also when the Waterways Ireland team undertakes the removal of fallen trees and trims bank foliage along the navigation. This work will take place from Carnoe to the Cutts and at Toome.

The Toome Canal Walk, which Waterways Ireland says has seen a significant increase in users this year, will also be resurfaced.

Regional manager Joe Gillespie said: “These maintenance works are essential to maintain the heritage assets of the Lower Bann and ensure they are accessible to the widest range of users.”

Bellanaleck in Co Fermanagh on the River Erne (Photo: Waterways Ireland)Bellanaleck in Co Fermanagh on the River Erne | Photo: Waterways Ireland

Meanwhile, this month Waterways Ireland will also commence an extensive works programme to improve Bellanaleck Quay on the River Erne.

The works, planned to be completed in time for the new boating season next March, are being undertaken to improve access and increase year-round mooring capacity near Bellanaleck village in Co Fermanagh.

Waterways Ireland’s design team will work with contractors on a plan to widen the existing slipway and construct a new quay wall with one fixed mooring as well as a 16-berth floating mooring.

“Waterways Ireland continues to invest in increasing access to Lough Erne for recreational and tourism activity,” says director of technical services Joe McMahon.

“Bellanaleck is a key lakeside location with a range of services which visitors enjoy and improved access will increase the duration and spend of visitors in the local area.”

MacDara Conroy

About The Author

MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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