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Compasses Bridge: first abutment concrete pour on Friday, Aug 28.

The new bridge that will enable part of the Wey and Arun Canal in Surrey to be fully opened to boats for the first time in more than 150 years is taking shape.

Contractors CJ Thorne are making good progress on forming the basic reinforced concrete structure of the bridge, building on the piling installed last month.

The new crossing of the waterway is in Compasses Lane, Alfold, at one of the entrances to the Dunsfold Aerodrome complex.

It will replace a Second World War concrete causeway which is the main obstacle to navigation on one-and-a-quarter miles of the canal.

The waterway has already been largely de-silted and re-profiled between Tickner’s Heath in Dunsfold and Fast Bridge on the A281 at Alfold.

Work on the basic structure of the bridge is expected to take about six months. It is being done with the co-operation of aerodrome owners Dunsfold Park and local landowners.

The Trust has so far raised £433,317 towards the £700,000 cost of the project, mainly through donations and legacies. Contributions to our appeal will be gratefully received – please see the Donate Now section on the Home Page.

It is aimed to officially re-open the canal section – the Wey & Arun’s Summit Level – in the autumn of 2016. This will coincide with the 200th

anniversary of the official opening of the Wey & Arun Junction Canal, the northern section of the waterway, at the Compasses site.

Our Compasses project also incorporates a public viewing platform and an accessible footpath to a boat landing stage, which will be a community and educational facilities. The area around the bridge will be landscaped and a wildflower meadow planted.