An investment of £2.2 million has been pumped in to replace the upstream timber gates at the Heybridge Basin in Maldon.
Essex & Suffolk Water in conjunction with Essex Waterways has completed the replacement work which included closing and draining of the lock in October 2016 and the assembly and testing of the new gates prior to the re-opening of the lock.
Ryan Lloyd, Project Manager for Essex & Suffolk Water said, “The re-opening of the Heybridge Basin lock is a key milestone that we are very pleased to have achieved. As the historic owners of the sea lock gates, we are responsible for keeping both of these gates operational.’’
Ryan added: ‘’Following a survey, we found that existing sea lock gate was in need of replacement. The lock gates are an essential part of this important local waterway, so we have worked hard to design and plan the replacement in a way that minimises any disruption and ensures that this important navigation route can continue to be enjoyed for many years to come. I’d like to thank the local community and users of the waterway for their interest, support and patience while we have carried out this important work.’’
David Smart, Navigation Manager for Essex Waterways said: “I am delighted that the lock is going to re-open on schedule and on behalf of Essex Waterways Ltd would like to say a big thank you to Essex & Suffolk Water and their contractors for all their hard work over this winter period. The sea lock at Heybridge is the gateway to the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation and the new lock gates will help ensure that this Essex gem remains open and thriving for many years to come.’’
Essex & Suffolk Water has carefully planned the works and worked closely with local Maldon community, Essex Waterways, Maldon District Council, Environment Agency and Heybridge Parish Council. They made sure that the essential work has been carried out in a way that minimises inconvenience to users of the waterway and the local community.
Interesting facts about Heybridge Basin:
• Heybridge Basin is dug out of the marsh to enable sea going vessels was built as the sea terminus for the start of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation to which it owes its existence. It was here that the Colliers′ barges unloaded for the journey inland. Construction of the 13 mile canal to Chelmsford commenced in 1793.
· In 1796 the first ship entered the basin with a cargo of coal for Chelmsford.
· In 1973 the Inland Waterways Association held a Rally of Boats at Chelmsford, thereby setting the scene for the opening of the waterway for pleasure craft. As a result there are now well over 100 private motor craft of various shapes and sizes cruising the canal.
More information and updates about the project including pictures please visit: https://eswcommunityportal.co.uk/Projects/heybridge/Activity
More information about the Navigation can be found on the link below.