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The lock in action

Swinging up

Radial locks have a curved gate like a segment of a cylinder. A rope and pulley system with counterweights brings the gate up out of the water so barges can pass underneath. The old lock used a hand-turned wheel connected to gears, which allowed one person to lift the 4.5tonne gates single-handedly - but rather slowly. The new lock will use an hydraulic engine to do the same job.

This animation by KGAL shows the radial lock gate lifting up, and then dropping back down again.  

Can you see...?

The big red counterweights in the columns on each side balance the gate like a see-saw, so the motors don't have to use so much power. The design is similar to the Thames Barrier, but the Barrier's gates swing down to lie flat on the river bed, to allow large ships to pass through. 

Unlike traditional canal 'mitre' locks, you don't have to wait for the water level to be equal on each side of the gates before you open them.