A sad sight - the canal had come to an abrupt halt. On the far side of the elegant Queen Street bridge, two factory extensions has been built right across the canal. Fortunately, Kirklees Council had the foresight to stipulate that the buildings should be constructed in a way that would make it possible to tunnel underneath should the canal ever re-open.
The bridge will not look as it did originally, as Lock 2E is to be re-sited behind Bates and Co's mill, lowering the level of the canal under the bridge by about ten feet, so that it can pass through a tunnel below the buildings. The tow path will not follow it.
Looking westwards through Queen Street bridge, showing the hole in the wall of Bates' building. The tunnel will pass under the floor of the building and emerge next to the right hand wall of the bridge arch. The bridge will need to be underpinned as the new canal level will be about ten feet lower than the original level. The machine on the right is a "jet grouter" which drills and injects a column of strong grout known as Soilcrete. Rows of these columns form a solid foundation below the original bridge foundations. A concrete channel will then be constructed, the side wall of which will be below the bridge wall.
The jet grouter seen from inside Bates and Co., looking east through Queen Street bridge.
Work did not start this side of the bridge until fairly late. By this time the tunnel below the factory had been dug (see next pages) and lights in the tunnel can be seen in the bottom right corner of the bridge. Now that the bridge has been underpinned it is safe to excavate down to the lower level.
With the sheet piles sunk and the deep channel excavated, the tunnel entrance can be seen more clearly.
Looking west through Queen Street bridge to the tunnel entrance. The tunnel lights are reflecting in the water lying on the bottom. A substantial new towpath platform under the bridge has been constructed. There will be no towpath through the tunnel.
Queen Street Bridge viewed from the towpath.
Next page: Bates' Tunnel
My thanks to Costain Ltd for providing access to take these photographs.