Montgomery Canal restoration bid to cost about £30 million
The restoration of the Montgomery Canal to link Welshpool to the national network would cost £30 million, it has been revealed.
Even using volunteers for much of the work, building new bridges, adding a nature reserve, and even creating a new section of canal would all add to the huge cost of the project.
Canal users can currently travel from Lower Frankton near Ellesmere to just west of Maesbury near Oswestry on the canal. Short sections are in use at Llanymynech and Welshpool. It originally ran 33 miles to Newtown.
Campaigners who want to see the canal reopened to Welshpool want the Welsh and Westminster governments to help complete the restoration, which has been mooted for more than two decades.
A steering group including Welshpool and Llangollen town councils, Montgomery Canal Partnership, MPs and Assembly members and specialists has drawn up a plan to take the work forward.
It now wants other groups with an interest in canals to support its work, and is launching a consultation which will run until March 4.
The steering group says that once the single plan has been agreed then the business plan, tourism case and feasibility studies can be completed for presentation to apply for funding.
It has estimated the total cost of the project at £30 million, even using volunteers, with the biggest cost being the £8.8 million bill for building nature reserves along the length of the canal.
Steering group spokesman Michael Limbrey said: "It would create the largest area of its type in Wales and enhance the area for tourism.
"The reason for the reserves is that the canal is a dedicated site of special scientific interest."
More than £5 million would be needed to dredge the canal and protect the canal banks with another £5 million needed for the stretch of restoration between Morton and Llanymynech to include a new road bridge.
Repairing an aqueduct over the River Vyrnwy – a grade-II listed building – will cost £1.6 million and a new lift bridge costing £1 million will also be built on that site.
A major section will be between Ardleen and Four Crosses where an entire new stretch of canal will have to be built together with new bridges at a cost of £3.75 million.
At Ardleen a new lock will have to be built, costing £1.6 million.
To have a say on the consultation, email firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to Triangle House, Union Street, Welshpool SY21 7PG.
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