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24.10.2012

Richmond Lock and Weir Maintenance Works

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

The PLA is advising boaters and pedestrians that Richmond Lock and Weir will be out of action for around six weeks, starting this weekend.

The facility will not be operational from October 27, while major maintenance work is carried out, in addition to the annual safety inspection.

The work will ensure the Victorian structure can continue to maintain the level of the river between Richmond and Teddington when the tide goes out.  It will potentially mean disruption for boaters in the vicinity and the temporary closure of the footbridge which runs adjacent to the weir’s 32-tonne sluice gates.

Alan Cartwright, head of marine engineering at the PLA said:

“Each year we carry out essential inspections and work which means taking the gates out of action temporarily.  This is called the ‘draw-off’. The result is that water levels are low enough to expose the river bed between Richmond and Teddington at low tides.

“The additional work we’re doing isn’t straightforward - Richmond Lock and Weir is a remarkable example of Victorian civil and mechanical engineering, which is also complex, unique and large.  There are three sluice gates; the 20-year-old cables for one were replaced last year, now we’re back to do the other two.  The work involved means that this year’s ‘draw-off’ will be longer than normal.”

In normal operation, the gates are raised clear of the water for around two hours each side of high tide, allowing boats to pass.  For the rest of each tidal cycle, the gates are closed.  The lock, however, allows river traffic to pass through safely.

By operating the weir, the PLA ensures that water levels between the Richmond and Teddington locks are maintained at or above half-tide level - allowing boats to navigate and providing a stable habitat for wildlife.

Alex Brown, Richmond-based assistant harbour master, said:

“We’ve been advising the owners of boats usually moored between Richmond Lock and Teddington Lock to prepare for the works, either by moving their boats to more suitable moorings or assuring themselves that the boat is capable of grounding safely during low water.”

Short-term moorings are limited in the area, so vessel owners not taking early action could have difficulty finding suitable moorings.The closure of the footbridge is necessary for contractors to secure access and to ensure safety. While the footbridge is closed pedestrians are advised to use nearby Twickenham Bridge.

The cost of this year’s maintenance work is expected to be in the region of £65,000. None of this money comes from taxpayers or government; the cost of this work will be met by the PLA which  is funded through fees levied on river users.