LOCK gates at the Failsworth section of the Rochdale Canal are to be replaced as part of a £170,000 makeover.

The Canal & River Trust, is carrying out vital maintenance and repair work to the 216-year-old water way over the next three months.

Included in the programme is the replacement of Lock 65 in Failsworth in addition to several lock chambers and weirs.

Before each separate lock or section is drained, fish are rescued and transported to another part of the canal which remains in water.

Working with volunteers, debris and litter which has built up over the years, will be removed from the bottom of each Lock chamber.

New lock gates are hand-crafted in oak at a special Canal & River Trust workshop using traditional skills and then craned into place as part of a spectacular lift movement.

The full programme of work includes repairs to brickwork and timber at Locks 71 and 79 at Newton Heath; replacement of bottom gate and minor repairs at Lock 65, Failsworth; reduction of leakage at Locks 80 and 82, Miles Platting in Manchester.

Mark Wigley, construction manager with the Canal & River Trust, said: “This canal repair project is really important. We’ll be emptying millions of litres of water from the canal, and lifting multi-tonne lock gates through the air into place.

“Although the Rochdale Canal is 216 years old, it is just as relevant today as in Georgian times, when it was constructed to move materials between Yorkshire and Lancashire.

“Today the canal has reinvented itself as a leisure destination and a haven for wildlife. Modern canals offer an amazing, tranquil space, where everything slows down – a great place to escape the pressures of modern life. We know from research that people are happier and more relaxed when they’re by water, and activities such as walking, cycling, boating, fishing, canoeing and paddle boarding improve people’s mental and physical well-being.”

“Wooden lock gates typically last around 25 years and allow thousands of boats to travel from place to place each year. Each new gate is made to measure, weighs several tonnes, and is handcrafted from seasoned oak so that it fits perfectly in the lock chamber. Once in place, the new lock gates will help the Trust conserve water and keep boats moving along the waterway.”