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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, September 20, 2003
    If they shut Thelwall Viaduct down

    How about shutting Thelwall Viaduct down completely? Just for a while, to allow the constructors free reign to strengthen the wobbly struts holding the monster roadway hundreds of feet in the air. In their own time. Enough time to permit the thousands who'd otherwise be queuing across it, to find new ways of making their days journeys work. Like....
      Taking the Thelwall Ferry - the little boat which links Thelwall to Martinscroft, where the Canal meets the meandering Mersey. A fine little route requiring solid footwear and no great urgency for onward transport the other side, inviting some time spent on The Eyes, a swampy nature reserve, home to Dabbling Ducks, Teal, Mallard and Pochard, Shovellers, Gadwalls and Tufted Ducks, as many as several hundred Pintail, and in winter, skeins of Pink-footed Geese en-route to the east coast. Bring 11p for the ferry fare.

      Continuing on by barge - assuming many Viaduct travellers work in Warrington, Manchester, Chester, Liverpool, they could float onward to the office on specially-equipped canal craft: three hours into town on state-of-the-art floating workstations, an hour at the desk and three hours back. Astern, a 'quiet cabin' for non-mobile phone boatsfolk; below decks, cosy conference space and facilities for tea-making in genuine tin canal mugs.

      Car sharing - northbound travellers arrange to be collected by colleagues living north of the Viaduct, leaving their vehicles in set-aside by Massey Brook, taking a short hike beneath the Canal at Thelwall Heys to meet their friends. Southbound, something similar. Companionship, cooperation, a leg-stretch and slice of fresh air mid-journey.

      Doing construction work - give up the office job awhile; volunteer to help out the bridge maintenance teams, and help reduce the taxpayers' billion-pound bills on this hardcore dinosaur.
    (Local info from the Days Out Cheshire and Woolston Eyes Reserve websites.)