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 New year brings new look for Benson Lock

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PostSubject: New year brings new look for Benson Lock   Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:46 pm

11-Jan-2012

The popular Benson Lock on the River Thames is currently undergoing a face lift as part of the Environment Agency’s commitment in maintaining the River’s many structures.

Work on the site kick started in early November, and this Wednesday, 11 January a 100 tonne crane will be used to lift two five tonne steel lock gates into place. The steel gates will replace the 30 year-old timber lock gates and should last 60 years. The project is part of £3m programme of capital works running from August 2011 to March 2012.

The very busy lock to the West of Wallingford and East of Abingdon has proven to be very popular amongst river users, with over 8,000 boaters passing through the lock in 2011. However, the old timber gates, installed in the 1970’s had reached the end of their operational life. Work on replacing the lock gates has proved to be a tricky project, with no access by road all plant equipment and material had to arrive to the site by river, including the 100 tonne crane used to lift the gates.

Paul Power, Environment Agency Waterways Engineer for the River Thames, said: “This is a highly unusual opportunity to see a lock out of operation and drained to the bottom. A lock without water is a rare sight, and serves as a reminder to us on how much we rely on the smooth operation of locks to keep the River Thames running on a day to day basis.

“The installation of these new gates and the refurbishment of the lock walls will mean Benson Lock will continue to operate smoothly for many more years to come.”

The existing lock chamber was built in the 1890’s and has a number of unique features, including both a cast iron base and lower walls made of cast iron – the only lock on the River Thames to have this. To carry out the structural repairs, the lock was drained in order to gain access to the lock walls. Over 450 fish were caught at the lock in November and released to the river - outside of the lock chamber in preparation for the engineering works to begin. Environment Agency fisheries team used manual electro-fishing tools to stun the fish before removing them and safely returning them to the river. Electro-fishing involves passing an electric current through the water, attracting and momentarily stunning the fish, enabling them to be easily caught.

The Environment Agency owns more than 2000 structures along the River Thames which we have a legal duty to maintain and keep to good and safe working order ensuring that many thousands of people can navigate this great river with peace of mind.
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PostSubject: Re: New year brings new look for Benson Lock   Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:26 pm

Not that many of you are likely to come up that far but a couple of usefull [or not ] facts .
There is now a tackle shop selling bait/maggots/tackle right on the waterfront just above Benson lock .
There is a small free bit just above the weir by the waterfront cafe that is q decent little swim Steve.
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