GIANT gates that protect the city of Gloucester from a torrent of water are being replaced in a bid to stop any future catastrophe.
Vital replacement of four giant safety gates on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal is being completed this month, with the new 12 tonne oak structures taking the place of the gates which have kept guard along the waterway for decades.
The Canal & River Trust – the charity that cares for the waterway – is investing £300,000 in the project.
Two of the super-sized gates at Parkend were replaced last week, with a further two being replaced in Purton.
They are part of a series of gates that form a safety barrier in the event of a breach, with the gates closing automatically to ensure flood risk is controlled for Gloucester and the communities along the length of the canal.
Unlike the large majority of the nation’s canals, the Gloucester and Sharpness does not have any locks, which typically provide this essential safety feature.
At Parkend divers helped secure the old gates to a crane so they could be winched out, before helping to fit each of the bespoke new gates as they are safely lowered into position in the canal.
Nick Worthington, waterway manager, said: “These giant gates are really important to making sure we can control the water in the canal in the event of an emergency.
“Fortunately they haven’t had to be used in a real scenario for a number of years, but with the canal being 17 miles long and up to five metres deep, that is millions of litres of water, so we need to be prepared and the gates need to be in top condition.
“The work is quite specialised because the gates are so heavy and need to be positioned perfectly.”