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21.12.2011

Richmond Lock & Weir fully operational again

Maintenance work at Richmond Lock and Weir
 
Maintenance work at Richmond 
Lock and Weir
(click on image to enlarge)

The extra maintenance work at Richmond Lock is now complete and the weir gates are fully operational again.

Every November the annual 'draw off' sees the weirs raised to allow routine checking, service and repair, which can only be carried out at low tide. With the weir gates raised, the river between Richmond Lock and Teddington returns to its natural tidal state and so drains down at low tide - or "draws off". This year, those checks identified the need for unexpected extra maintenance work to the weir mechanisms.

In order to carry out this extra work, the Port of London Authority - which operates and maintains Richmond Lock and Weir - extended the normal draw off.  Those works were successfully completed within three weeks and the draw off is now over. The footbridge across the Lock and Weir, which was also closed for public safety during the work, is also open again from 6.30am to 7.30pm each day.

The PLA took the opportunity of the draw off extension to host two tours of the river at Richmond, giving many local people the opportunity to hear about the workings of the Lock and Weir from PLA staff and also about the maintenance activity.  There was also an opportunity to see things along the river bed that are normally underwater for 50 weeks a year.

The PLA's Alex Brown said:

"Richmond Lock and Weir is a remarkable example of Victorian civil and mechanical engineering. It has proved very robust and reliable over its near 120 year life. However, the mechanism is also complex, intricate, and large: each of the three gates weighs 32.6 tonnes and is 20 metres wide and 3.64 metres in depth. The extra maintenance work reflected their complexity and the vital need to ensure all repairs are carried out safely and comprehensively, not least because this is a much loved local listed building and structure."