Project banishes puddles on popular canal walkway

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WORK to restore the canal towpath over Black Pit aqueduct at Hebden Bridge has been completed.

But controversial railings designed to prevent cyclists falling over the wall into the River Calder have been abandoned.

There were protests when Calderdale Council’s original improvement plans went out to consultation.

The main aim was to get rid of puddles in the deeply rutted towpath beside the Rochdale Canal, near Riverside Junior School.

Safety officers said the likelihood of a cyclist crashing at the right angle and at sufficient speed to go over the wall at this particular point was low but the results could have been fatal.

Residents and regular users said there had been no accidents since the canal was built more than 200 years ago and the railings would spoil the appearance of the listed structure.

The towpath is heavily used at this point and forms part of the Pennine Cycleway and the Sustrans National Cycle Route 66.

It was previously a compacted gravel surface which in wet was difficult and unpleasant to use.

The towpath is now covered in a hard-wearing material comprising an asphalt base-course with a resin-bonded gravel dressing.

Stone paving around the lock gates has been retained, with additional reclaimed setts laid across the towpath.

The work has been paid for by the council with a contribution from Hebden Royd Town Council.

Council spokesman Barry Collins said: “We propose to continue the enhancements and re-surfacing works on selected sections of the upper Calder valley cycle route, including the Rochdale Canal corridor, as funds permit to provide an amenity which can be used all year-round.”