Friday, 27 March 2009

Friday 27 March Thrupp to Oxford back to Thrupp

We left the 48 hour visitor moorings at 10 am and headed off towards Oxford in cool sunshine. When we arrived at the lift bridge at Wolvercote there was a chap standing in the middle of the bridge with a stop/go board indicating that we should stop. The fact he was standing on the bridge indicated that we couldn't pass. The reason for this holdup is that they are demolishing the A34 viaduct and building a new one, this one is only about 45 years old but is past its sell by date. The ongoing operation was to lift off the road span over the canal, to do this they had cut it into 6 strips and had an 11 axle crane to lift it off one section at a time and they were about to lift the first section. After 10 minuets of inactivity the man showed us the green side of his board, left the bridge and opened it for us. We then passed under the viaduct and had to wait another 10 minuets while they raised a temporary hydraulic flat bed bridge that they are using to get the plant across, earlier this monster crane had crossed it. The bridge is rated at 100 tones. At Wolvercote lock BW had a flat and a tug full of rubbish they had collected including lots of bicycles, they were accompanied by several BW chaps and a group of volunteers with litter picking equipment. They told me that if I had been a little bit later I could well have been on the TV as they were waiting for a TV crew to come and do an interview. I assume this is the new BW we love volunteers face to the public.

We continued on to Isis Lock, dropped through onto the Thames to turn round and then locked back up onto the Oxford Canal and retraced our steps back to Thrupp. When we arrived at the viaduct the chap that operated the hydraulic bridge came down the towing path to speak to us. He said there would be a delay of about half an hour as they were about to lift the FIRST section off. They had been at it all morning and hadn't made a lift yet and they had hoped to have all 6 off by now. We tied up and waited, there was burning going on and the a large Jack hammer on wheels breaking bit off from the adjoining sections. eventually the big crane took the strain, lifted the now free section a few inches, slewed round and lowered it on the ground. The bridge driver got the OK and lifted the bridge for us and then got the OK for us to proceed. I checked on the BW web site Waterscape and the only work mentioned on the Oxford was work on the moorings at Jericho. From here we had an uneventful trip back to Thrupp visitor mooring apart from meeting lots of people we knew so stopped for several chats on route. We moored up at about 6 pm and ate onboard.

 

You will find our latest position at
http://tinyurl.com/Harnser-s-route

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