Spectators gathered to watch a huge crane remove two sets of lock gates from the world-famous Bingley Five Rise Locks during an ongoing maintenance project yesterday.

The 110-tonne machine arrived on site at the top of the locks yesterday morning.

The two sets of gates took up to an hour to prepare for removal before they were manoeuvred in to a waiting lorry and taken away for recycling. The work is part of a £250,000 project to replace four of the six gates on the 18th century structure to improve safety.

Peter Carter, construction supervisor for the Bingley lock gate replacement project, said: “We have had people around all day watching what is happening and taking pictures.

“Normally we would shut the footbridge at the top of the lock flight where we had the crane but we managed to keep it open. We only had to move people off when we were swinging the gates across on to the lorry.”

The old metal gearing and the balance beams were removed from the oak gates before they were hoisted out of position. Some of the wood will be cut down and reused by British Waterways and the remainder will be sent to prison workshops to be made into other items. The balance beams are kept as spares.

Workers will now prepare the empty locks to receive the final two sets of gates and the crane will return tomorrow to install them.