A canal is being used to deliver 16,000 tonnes of material to a £12m building project in Gloucestershire.
Road access to the site of a new electricity substation is narrow so Western Power Distribution (WPD) agreed the alternative method of transport.
About 100 trips will be made by a barge transporting soil and crushed stone five miles (8km) from Sharpness Docks to Cambridge Bridge.
The local council and residents were consulted before the project began.
WPD said using the Gloucester Sharpness Canal in this way was "quite rare" and it expected the job would take 1,200 lorry loads off the roads.
Nick Worthington, of the Canal and River Trust, said: "The canals of the twenty-first century offer so much, they are a haven for boaters, engineering enthusiasts, heritage-lovers, cyclists and walkers and wildlife.
"That our larger canals are still able to accommodate freight is a testament to their durability - they are still doing the job 200 years after they were built. How many other large scale feats of engineering can claim the same?"
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