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Gloucester Docks &
the Sharpness Canal


Two Mile Cut - Plans

A new section of canal was dug two miles south of Gloucester in 2005-06 in connection with the construction of Gloucester's South West Bypass. The new channel has cut off Two Mile Bend which has always been difficult for long vessels to negotiate. This page outlines the plans for the new cut and the huge swing bridge across it, and the following links lead to pages reporting on the construction work and on why the canal was originally built with such an awkward double bend:

Excavating 2m Cut   Clearing 2m Cut   Opening 2m Cut   2m Cut Summer 06   Netheridge Bridge
 Dewatering 2m Bend   2m Bend Desilting   2m Bend Filling   Historical Background

The New Cut
     The new cut is required so that when the bridge across it is opened there will be a reasonable length of bypass to accommodate car stacking before the Cole Avenue junction to the south is affected. It will also allow the bypass to have a reasonable gradient between the level of the Cole Avenue junction and the platform of the new bridge, which needs to be high enough for most boats to be able to pass underneath. The new cut is the same width and depth as the existing canal with a narrow section at the bridge having the same width as the other bridges.

Image adapted from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service and reproduced by kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland


The Old Bend
     The old bend in the canal will be partially filled in to provide space for a road junction, leaving two short arms (see map right). The western arm could be used for moorings or may become a nature reserve, while the eastern arm could serve a wharf for the concrete plant adjoining the Bristol Road. The milepost that was formerly on the inside of the bend will be re-sited beside the new channel.

The New Bridge
     The bridge across the new cut will be the second largest swing road bridge in the country. It will be delivered in sections that will be assembled on site. It will have a control cabin on the north side of the cut. The air draught under the bridge will be 4.75m, which should allow most pleasure craft to pass, but the bridge will need to open for the occasional commercial vessel or classic ship coming to Gloucester for overhaul.


For reports on progress and historical background, see the links above.

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