Oxford Canal overhaul on the right path

6:10pm Thursday 5th August 2010

By Chris Buratta »

WORK to overhaul the Oxford Canal towpath in Jericho is set to begin this week, marking the latest stage in four years of waterway improvements across the city.

The path connecting Isis Lock and Walton Well Road will be resurfaced in a project costing £115,000.

Passing points will also be created to improve safety on the route, which is popular with both walkers and cyclists.

The project is expected to take eight weeks to complete and the path will be closed for a short period, with diversion routes in place, to allow the new urface to be laid.

The 77-mile canal, built in 1790 to connect Oxford and Coventry, has seen an increase in leisure activity in recent years and British Waterways regeneration manager James Clifton said the improvement work would increase enjoyment and safety.

He said: “It is an area where we have wanted to do work for some time.“In the countryside, a grass towpath is fine, but in the city people have higher expectations.

“Currently, the path is a mixture of various materials that have been compacted over the years and when it rains it gets muddy, which is not ideal if you are going to the shops or the train station.”

The latest upgrades, to the 750-metre stretch of Oxford Canal towpath, are being carried out by British Waterways.

The county council has provided £100,000 of funding via its ‘Section 106’ pot – money paid to the authority by developers, as part of planning agreements, for infrastructure improvements.

Mr Clifton said the area attracted about 300,000 visits per year, both on boat and on foot.

He added: “The new path will have a smoother surface and a gentle slope to allow rainwater to run off.

“The surface is what engineers call tar spray and chip, it is a gravel finish on a bed of asphalt to keep it in place.”

In addition to the towpath work, British Waterways will install a new landing area and pontoon at Isis Lock and bank protection measures.

Councillor Rodney Rose, the county council’s cabinet member for transport, said: “The waterways are a fantastic community resource for Oxford and Oxfordshire and improving this stretch of towpath will make a real difference for local people.”

The British Waterways Yours to Enjoy leaflet, detailing activities on the canal, is available from tourist information centres or waterscape.com

via Oxford Canal overhaul on the right path From The Oxford Times.

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