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Highways England pledge £6m to fix 1-mile of canal

The section of the Stroudwater Navigation Canal was lost in the 60s

A LOST mile of the UK canal network that was lost in the 60’s after motorway works is being rebuilt with the help of £6m in funding from highways England.

The A38/A419 roundabout was built in the 1960s and in the process managed to cover up a 1-mile stretch of the Stroudwater Navigation Canal, splitting the waterway in two. Since 1982 a team of volunteers have been campaigning to have the section re-opened, with Highways England, the company responsible for managing and maintaining England’s major A roads and motorways, is contributing funding towards the restoration of the final ‘missing mile’.

Sean Walsh, route manager for Highways England, said:

“We are delighted to support this project which will restore the missing mile to the nation’s inland waterway network.

“When the work is finished there will not only be a restored canal, but also a great walking and cycling route, and environmental improvements, all of which will attract more visitors to the area, and so help the local economy.

“Our designated funds programme was developed so that we can invest in improvement projects like this, which go beyond traditional road building and maintenance and have a positive impact on people and communities, as well as protecting cultural heritage and leaving a positive legacy for future generations.”

Jim White, Chair of Cotswold Canals Trust, welcomed the Highways England funding. He said:

“The Highways England award is extremely welcome and will significantly progress the overall project by bringing forward several of the major engineering tasks in the programme.

“The project, led by the Cotswolds Canals Trust and involving Stroud District Council, will restore the waterway, locks, bridges and wetlands west of Stonehouse in Gloucestershire that were lost when the M5 and a roundabout linking the A38 and A419 were built more than 50 years ago.

“The work will restore historic features near to junction 13 of the M5 including new bridges and a new lock and improve more than 30 hectares of wildlife habitats.

The Highways England funding comes from one of the company’s ring-fenced pots of money worth £675 million, which enable it to provide environmental, social and economic benefits to the people, communities and businesses who live and work alongside its road network.

Do you think the restoration is just, or would you rather Highways England focussed on fixing potholes?

Let us know in the comments below.

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