A CANAL charity is continuing work to repair a collapsed embankment which swept a section of a 200-year-old canal at Rishton into the River Hyndburn.

The waterways and wellbeing charity, Canal and River Trust, has estimated the work to fix the Leeds and Liverpool Canal will cost nearly £1.7million.

Contractors working on behalf of the Canal and River Trust initially installed emergency dams on either side of the breach to secure the canal.

Now, a temporary road and construction site compound have been established next to the breach and an access to the canal bed has been constructed to enable physical work to begin.

Around 3,000 tonnes of stone and other materials will be used to reconstruct the canal and build a new culvert carrying a stream under the canal.

The Trust estimate that the canal will re-open in late spring, subject to weather conditions.

The huge leak in October left several narrowboat users stranded when the water level dropped dramatically.

Dilwyn Parry, senior project manager at the Canal and River Trust, said: “It’s taken a while to physically start work to fix this hole.

“We needed to solve the problem of getting all our equipment and vehicles to the remote site, and the scope of works is complex and had to be carefully planned out.

“Behind the scenes, specialists have been ensuring the ecology, heritage and environment around the breach is safe-guarded and engineers have been working on the design plan required to repair the canal.

“The Leeds and Liverpool Canal is an extremely popular canal for the hundreds of boaters, walkers and cyclists that use it every day for their health and wellbeing.

“We appreciate that this is a major disruption for people who enjoy the canal and towpath and we’re working hard to re-open the canal as quickly as possible.”

The Canal and River Trust is guardian to more than 380 miles of canals and rivers in the North West, as well as hundreds of locks, bridges, aqueducts, tunnels and reservoirs.

This winter, the charity is investing £16.5million on carrying out specialist repairs, upgrades and maintenance work to the North West’s historic waterways.