During the course of the year, works have been underway on the A697 near Powburn to make repairs to the Hedgeley road bridge, where it was discovered that the bridge apron was subsiding; on one occasion, this main arterial route had be temporarily closed as sensors detected movement in the structure during spate conditions.
The work, undertaken by Northumberland County Council, has involved reinstating and reinforcing the shutter piling and providing additional concrete staging. As part of this work, a new fish pass was required in order that fish could negotiate the increased elevation from river level to the existing upstream fish pass exit. This has been achieved by modifying the top part of the existing pass to provide the required flows and depths in the newly installed steel pot pass.
This has been achieved by the pass doubling back on itself with the entrance at the side, as shown in the above photograph.
The pass is designed to take the majority of flow at all river heights and will be a big improvement on the previous pass that had, over time and changing riverbed levels, become a barrier to fish movement. The new fish pass is now fully open as work continues to complete the concrete apron on the right bank. Those works will be completed shortly, although there will be temporary day-time closures over the next few days so that the work can be carried out.
Fish are now using the new pass and have been seen spawning upstream.