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Canal towpath to close as rail bridge replacement presses ahead

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The canal towpath between Ocean swing bridge and Bonds Mill will be closed from next Monday, October 18th, until the end of March next year as part of the work to replace the railway bridge. An alternative walking and cycling route has been arranged and will be signposted.

The current bridge with its narrow opening will be replaced with a new, wider bridge that will allow boats to pass under, and an integrated canalside footpath.

Sections of the new bridge ready to be installed.

It is the largest engineering project in the Cotswold Canals Connected programme and is a vital part of the plan to connect the restored canal to the national waterways network, eventually making Stonehouse and Stroud canal towns once again.

Network Rail is delivering the work on behalf of Cotswold Canals Connected. Preparatory work will start in October, with the new bridge being installed around the clock between December 24th and 30th.

The new bridge will allow boats to pass underneath for the first time in decades.

Cotswold Canals Connected Project Director Chris Mitford-Slade said: “The new sections of railway bridge have already been cast on site and have become a popular feature with towpath users. Although the towpath closure means it won’t be possible for passers-by to watch the work taking place, we will ensure regular photos and drone footage are posted on the Cotswold Canals Connected website and social media channels so that anyone who is interested can watch the work taking place.”

The Ocean Railway Bridge with St Cyr’s Church in the background.

Cotswold Canals Connected is a partnership of organisations which are restoring the canal network. Phase 1A, which is now complete, restored the section between Stonehouse and Thrupp. Phase 1B, which includes this project, will restore a further four-mile section between Stonehouse and Saul Junction providing a connection to the national waterway network.

Find out more about Cotswold Canals Connected at www.cotswoldcanalsconnected.org

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