A SECTION of the Grand Union Canal at Northolt was cleared this morning (20) after a bridge suddenly collapsed, blocking the channel.

Ealing Council staff recovered the mass of debris and boats are able to get past, though the navigation is yet to be officially reopened.

The wooden footbridge, linking Smith's Farm with Marnham Fields, had been closed to pedestrians for years amid fears about its structural safety. 

Time finally ran out for the rotting bridge piers when they gave way, sending tons of rafters into the canal below.

The Canal & River Trust swiftly posted an official "stoppage" notice announcing the closure of the Paddington arm of the canal.  

Ealing Council, as owners, began clearance work this morning and the site is now secured with fencing.

Pedestrians were able to get past the collapsed bridge over the weekend by taking a short diversion, but boats faced a 43-mile trip via the tidal River Thames and the Regents Canal. 

David Posnett, of the Friends of the Grand Union Canal, said: "While the loss of this beautiful oak bridge is sad, Ealing Council correctly identified it was unsafe and closed it several years ago. 

"There is some good news as, before the collapse, planning was granted for a new metal bridge. This will be in place in the coming months." 

Video by Mark Percy:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1st_jAhGJIC5nYDg00lecYkKrH7nbNpcQ/view