THE Canal and River Trust has announced the next stage of the repairs to the Middlewich branch of the Shropshire Union Canal.

The next phase of the works to the canal is to install 220m of water proof lining which will then have a concrete layer installed over it.

The weather is an important factor for a timely completion to these steps and the trust is still hoping to have the canal back in operation for Christmas.

A spokesman for the Canal and River Trust said: “Weather permitting, these will be completed early December.

“This will be followed by removal of the access ramp constructed to allow access for excavators, dumpers etc into the bed of the canal.

“There will then be a staged refill of the canal and a short period of testing at each stage programmed for the middle of December.”

At the same time as the testing stage, the trust will also begin reconstruction on the towpath as well as installing fencing.

A spokesman for the trust added: “Following a successful staged refill and testing period, the dam constructed towards the Middlewich end of the works will be removed.

“This will take us right up to Christmas but while the programme remains tight and current activities are weather dependent, everyone is working hard to get the canal back in water for Christmas.

“We will still be working at the site through January to complete demobilisation and reinstatement, but the canal and towpath will be open during this time.”

The breach happened in March and caused £3 million of damage.