David and Sheila Suchet visited the site of the proposed tunnel under the railway in June 2016
The Lichfield Canal has to tunnel under the busy Cross-city railway line from Lichfield to Birmingham through a well-elevated embankment, a difficult obstacle in terms of railway management, especially where there are foundations for overhead line electrification equipment as there are in this case.
In 2007, despite those in the “it can’t be done” camp, when the Lichfield Southern Bypass was to reach Birmingham Road the Trust raised £490,000 without grants to install a canal culvert under the new roadway, stopping just short of the railway embankment. Plans by County Highways to extend the Southern Bypass are well advanced where there is a vital Agreement in Principle with Network Rail to drive the road through and install a new railway bridge during a brief possession of the line, probably in late 2019. That means work must begin many months before that.
Design specifications mean that the road and canal culvert have to stand apart by a short distance with the culvert still below road level, which obviously could have a dynamic influence on the bridge abutments. The work is such that it would be immensely more difficult and substantially more expensive to construct the culvert after the road is completed, and particularly so if proposals for two 400+ house developments either side of the railway go ahead. Will 25 years of successful restoration be “stopped in its tracks” and placed beyond reach?
An artist’s impression by Peter Buck and Andrew Wood looking towards the southern bypass (Falkland Road) with the new canal tunnel on the left and the new road bridge on the right.
A culvert has already been installed under the roundabout on the opposite side of the railway embankment to connect with the new tunnel. Below is a close up of the area marked in yellow.
A birds eye view of the the site. Roll your mouse over or click picture to see the proposed development in a sketch by Peter Buck.
Island House, Moor Road
Registered in England
No. 823 8213 41
Copyright (c) Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust 2016