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£650,000 upgrade programme to Oxford Canal bridges

The Canal & River Trust is to carry out a £650,000 upgrade programme on four of the Oxford Canal’s iconic wooden lift bridges.

The bridges have been in place for nearly 250 years, having been built to allow residents to cross the newly dug canal.

The bridges currently operated use a counterbalance system and are among 19 Grade II-listed accommodation lift bridges on the Oxford Canal.

The Trust has been granted Listed Building Consent for the installation of manual hydraulic winding mechanisms, work which will enhance the longevity of the structure by providing more controlled opening and closing, while also preserving their special heritage interest.

Winter programme

Work on Chisnell lift bridge (no.193) has been made possible thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, while the installations at Shipton (no.219), Wolvercote (no.233) and Perry’s (no.234) are being undertaken as part of the Trust’s winter programme of works.

“For many people these bridges are the defining feature of the Oxford Canal,” said Ros Daniels, Canal & River Trust director for London & South East.” I’m delighted that our charity, with the support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, is able to make them fit for the 21st century in a way which makes them safer to operate and more durable while retaining their unique look and heritage value.”

Officially opened on January 1st 1790, the Oxford Canal originally carried coal from the West Midlands to Oxford and London and was a commercial success for almost half a century until the arrival of the railway.

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