BRITISH Waterways is investing £450,000 in a major dredging programme along the Weaver Navigation in Cheshire, sweeping away silt deposits that can accumulate on the river bed and cause an obstruction to boating traffic.
The project began in October and is due to be finished by the end of March - in time to ensure a clear passage for ocean-going yachts which traditionally return to sea in the spring from their Northwich moorings at Jalsea Marine.
The works will assist in the continuing efforts to make the Weaver Navigation more attractive and accessible to its many visitors.
It is also environmentally important for the wildlife that flourishes in and around the river.
British Waterways River Weaver manager Duncan Davenport said: 'More than 3,000 leisure craft used the River Weaver in 2005, but we have also not forgotten the importance of maintaining a commercial thoroughfare.
'The dredging programme serves a dual purpose. It secures safe access for the larger commercial vessels using the navigation and ensures the growing number of leisure craft can continue cruising this hidden gem of a waterway.'