The Bridgewater Canal Company, part of Peel L&P, is preparing to submit a planning application to reinstate the towpath along the Barton Swing Aqueduct, reconnecting the Bridgewater Way.
The project focuses on improving pedestrian and cycling connectivity, providing safe access over the Manchester Ship Canal, completing the next phase of the Bridgewater Way.
The proposals have also been designed to provide a Disability Discrimination Act [DDA] compliant route. The designs have been created with safety front of mind, including discreet lighting within the railings and appropriate landscaping. Thoughts and comments are welcomed during the public consultation which will run from 17th March until 16th April 2021 .
Having recently secured programme entry from the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Challenge Fund for £4.8 million to reinstate the raised towpaths to the Grade II* listed navigable aqueduct, owners of the pathway, Peel L&P are working in partnership with Trafford Council and Salford City Council on the project.
If the plans are approved, people will be able to walk and cycle along a 20-mile stretch of the canal from Wigan through Salford and Manchester to Trafford. Work is forecast to start by winter 2021.
Peter Parkinson, Director of the Bridgewater Canal, part of Peel L&P, said: “There have been ambitions to deliver improvements to Barton Aqueduct and reinstate the elevated walkway for a number of years, so we’re thrilled to be bringing the plans forward to improve the area for walkers, runners and cyclists.
“At present, people are required to leave the Bridgewater Way to travel across the Manchester Ship Canal and Barton Lane via Barton Road, which is a vehicle dominated environment. Our proposals provide an alternative, pedestrian and cycle friendly route and reconnects the Bridgewater Way. Given the historic nature of the site, careful consideration has been given to the design and appearance of the proposals.”
A recent survey carried out by the Bridgewater Canal in late 2020/early 2021 revealed more people have been using the canal since the Covid-19 lockdowns and people expressed they feel lucky to have such a place on their doorstep with 80% saying they feel a sense of pride in the waterway.
Peter concluded: “We’re committed to improving and protecting the Bridgewater Canal and towpaths to ensure it can continue to be enjoyed by people and the generations to come.”
The Bridgewater Canal, built by the Duke of Bridgewater, stretches 39 miles from Runcorn to Manchester and Leigh and is considered the first true canal in England. Built at one level, its route followed the contours of the land to avoid the use of locks.
It was used to transport coal to the Duke’s mine at Worsley and today it is a popular leisure attraction and a home for canal boat residents. Barton Swing Aqueduct, which opened in 1894, carries the Bridgewater Canal across the Manchester Ship Canal in Trafford and Salford.
Helping to connect communities to nature in areas like the Bridgewater Canal is part of Peel L&P’s five-year sustainability plan.
To read more about the proposals, see the key features and provide feedback on the proposals before the application is submitted at the end of March 2021, please visit: www.bridgewatercanal.co.uk/news/barton-consultation. Following the public consultation, the website will continue to be live for updates and project announcements.