A Hartlepool landmark is undergoing maintenance work - and it has led to a sight not seen for more than two decades.
The lock at Hartlepool Marina has been emptied so that the work can be carried out.
Allan Henderson, director of Hartlepool Marina Ltd, said it was the first time in around 22 years that the lock has been emptied - since the Teesside Development Corporation first put the gates in.
“We have been doing the usual maintenance, but the bottom assembly is something that we can not get to without emptying the lock,” he added.
The process involved putting in coffer dams to stop outside water from entering.
“We fired powerful pumps to empty the lock and started working on the bottom hinges. That is the work that is in progress.”
We are replacing pins and bearings on the inner lock gates, as well as on the seals which go around the gates. They are worn and while we have got access to the gates, we are renewing the sealsAllan Henderson, director of Hartlepool Marina Ltd
He said the work which was being done was needed because of “wear and tear”.
Mr Henderson added: “It is designed to be a two-week project and we are at the end of the first week.”
The cost of the project, he said, was around £80,000, but added: “It is something that we have made provision for.”
It also involves the replacement of pins and bearings on the inner lock gates, as well as on the seals which go around the gates.
“They are worn, and while we have got access to the gates we are renewing the seals,” said Mr Henderson.
“We are working all the daylight hours, seven days a week.”
He said the Marina staff knew the work below the waterline was needed.
They had noticed more movement on the top hinges and the gates “were not coming together properly. It is telling you there is something.
“We employed a dive team to take photographs and they were sent to our contractor.
“He came to see us and came to the conclusion that it was inevitable that we would have to do it.
“We want these gates to last 100 years.”
Boat owners were given lots of notice of the project and Mr Henderson added: “We chose this time of year as it has limited lock use.”
He said boats wanting to carry on fishing are being accommodated at Kafiga LandingsL “No one is being put out.”