The Chichester Ship Canal Trust said the Southern online option for the A27 would put the historic canal ‘under huge threat’.
Ian Milton, the trust chairman, released a statement this week in which he said: “The land take within this proposal includes either lowering or moving the canal eastwards which will mean shutting down the canal for up to two years.
“The ever popular boat tours would have to cease during the building works.”
Mr Milton added: “Our much-loved historic canal is now under huge threat from the proposed Southern online option for the A27.
“It will be a tragedy if the activities on the canal would have to shut down. Many supporters will find this difficult to understand. It will be a colossal job to maintain the members’ and volunteers’ enthusiasm during two years of shut down.”
The trust said the ship canal had just been awarded the Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence 2018 for the third year in a row.
Mr Milton said, presently, the income generated goes towards maintaining the canal and protecting its wildlife.
Mr Milton added: “This will be a huge loss to locals who utilise it, local canoeing groups, the special needs schools, those walking into the city and the city workers who jog during lunchtime to take in the peace, tranquillity and the endangered nature on their doorstep. Add this to the tourist attraction for visitors who come from far and wide to take in the famous view of Chichester depicted by William Turner in 1809.
“The beauty of the canal is that the moment you leave the city behind at the Basin, you are in rural England.”