Escape Route Blocked, Breach 28. 6th March

Thank you Mike from Alchemy for bringing the notice below to our attention last night. Stoppage notices go to Mick and he hadn’t checked his emails for a while.

Notice Alert

Aire & Calder Navigation Main Line
Location: Goole Docks
Starts At: Goole Visitor Moorings
Ends At: Goole Visitor Moorings

Friday 5 March 2021 16:15 until further notice

Type: Advice
Reason: Information

Original message:

Skippers of all craft are advised that due to restricted water levels caused by the breach at New Bridge on the Aire & Calder Navigation Associated British Ports (ABP) are restricting passage at Ocean Lock Goole to commercial use only for the foreseeable future. Skippers of all craft are advise to bear this in mind when planning passage on the Derwent, Ouse, Humber, Trent and other connecting waterways.

This notice means that our escape route is now blocked. We always knew this was a possibility and sadly it is now a reality. Currently our only way out from Goole is on the back of a lorry.

Our hoped for departure date is still a way off, so there is still chance that the situation may change. But our giddiness of last week has been dampened somewhat!

Yesterday levels in the docks were low again. Apparently water had been flowing over the stop planks at the caisson last weekend, the top plank having been removed. Maybe this was because the eastern/downstream side of the cofferdam had water overflowing it.

Thank you Don for the link to this footage taken last Sunday. The cofferdam filling back up nicely. Mark Penn had also reported a week earlier that the level on the western/upstream side had been doing similar.

I’ve just noticed that C&RT have also updated their website with the following. It explains what has been happening in better detail than the snippets we’ve been getting on stoppage notices. Information is better than speculation.

Update 05/03/2021

Our initial actions when the breach occurred on the 20 December were to make the site safe and prevent further release of water from the canal which would have caused further issues for both boaters and local residents. We managed to make the site safe within a few days and added to these temporary measures over the next few weeks to stabilise the repair.

Since that point, our efforts have focussed on managing water levels for boats whilst preparing for the permanent works. We closed Goole caission and pumped water into Goole Dock and although this helped to some extent it proved challenging. This could be because there is a leak in the dock or it could be because there is a problem with the caisson or even a combination of the two.

In order to both see the damage to the bed of the canal and provide working space for a temporary repair we then installed a cofferdam and this was completed towards the end of February. This is essentially two lines of sheet piles across the canal with pumps in place to send the water across the piles.

Once these pumps were in place, to provide a continuity of water,  we were able to take the water out of the cofferdam and start our inspection. Unfortunately the bank on the south side of the canal, where the piles of the cofferdam nearest the dock connected to it, suffered damage and so the cofferdam started to fill up again. We have almost completed the repair of this damage and can start to take the water out of the cofferdam again.

All these challenges have made it difficult to maintain a steady water level but we can assure you we are doing all we can to ensure this is the case.

At this stage our engineers estimate the permanent repair project will take several months to complete, though as we learn more about the cause of the problem, we will be able to refine this estimate. Until complete the navigation will unfortunately be closed at the breach site.

We apologise for the effects of the breach on the Aire & Calder and we appreciate how frustrating this must be. Please be assured we are doing all we can to resolve this problem.