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19May94 UK: LOCK SECURES A STURDY FUTURE - JOHNSTON CONSTRUCTION RESTRUCTURES GARSTON LOCK FOR BRITISH WATERWAYS.

British Waterways has reopened its Grade II listed lock at Garston on the Kennet and Avon canal near Reading after a £170,000 restoration by Johnston Construction.The lock, which was originally opened in 1720, is the last surviving turf-sided lock in the country.In a previous restoration dating back to the late 19th century the original timber and earth was replaced with a series of bridge rails supporting vertical slate panels topped by a battered bank made up of layers of turf.British Waterways called in the Wessex Archaeological Trust to advise on the best way to avoid damage to the original 1720 structure, as well as consulting English Heritage about the restoration.Johnston's contract consisted of installing a concrete ground slab and then removing the slate panels so that the vertical railway irons could be realigned and extra whalings and ties put in.The slates were then replaced, and a pre-grown plant carpet from MMG was put on the top to protect the upper banks.British Waterways hopes that the new works will prevent a repeat of previous problems caused by the lock's walls moving inwards.The movement had reached 500 mm by the time the work started - preventing standard 4.27 m wide narrow boats from passing through the lock. CONSTRUCTION NEWS