Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant has welcomed a £3 million investment from the Environment Agency to refurbish East Farleigh Lock.
The works are the first in more than 100 years and the Environment Agency hopes that this will guarantee the structure for the next 80 to 100 years.
The reopening of the lock has now been delayed until the end of June 2017 after a structural weakness was discovered in one of the lock walls which needed to be rectified. But the local MP remains excited for the finished result.
The works involve damming and draining the lock and are part of a wider scheme to improve the river for wildlife and the wider boating community. The project will also include the installation of a new fish and eel pass.
As a patron of the Medway River Users Association (MRUA), Mrs Grant said:
"I am very glad to see this investment by the Environment Agency in my constituency. It will help to safeguard a strategic and important part of our river network and I am looking forward to visiting the lock when it reopens in the summer. I have been campaigning with the MRUA for a stronger emphasis and use of the River Medway. It is a key part of our town."
Speaking when works began, Phillip Munslow, Environment Agency Waterway Operations Manager said:
"It is a testament to the previous lock refurbishment that it has lasted over 100 years, especially in such a harsh environment.
The construction is made more complicated by the confined nature of East Farleigh lock. However, working with our suppliers we are pleased to be able to invest in this site and bring the lock up to modern standards."
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