Extending to Merseyside
At the end of 1761, the Canal was completed through to Stretford and to Castlefield Wharf, Manchester by 1765.
Whilst this work was being carried out, the Duke and his team were busy on the next phase of extending the Canal to the Mersey tideway at Runcorn to forge a link with the Port of Liverpool. Despite opposition, the Duke’s third Act to make this possible was passed in March 1762.
The need for an embankment and aqueduct over the Mersey at Sale Moor and similarly across the River Bollin, coupled with disputes with landowners, delayed work under this Act. At the Runcorn end the principal landowner, Sir Richard Brooke of Norton Priory, held up completion for many years.
Before the Canal reached Preston Brook, about five miles from Runcorn, the Trent and Mersey Canal was under construction. The Act of 1766 for the Trent at Mersey Canal, which the Duke was involved in, included a provision empowering him to change the route of his Canal from the junction at Preston Brook to a point lower down the Mersey at Runcorn Gap, opposite Widnes, a more convenient point for barges to proceed on the tideway after descending by a flight of 10 locks.
Eventually in spite of all the trials and tribulations, the Canal between Liverpool and Manchester was completed in the spring of 1776, four years after James Brindley died.