Major engineering work starts on Wednesday (January 30) to upgrade an ageing, underground gas pipe that helps keep thousands of homes in St Helens and Prescot warm.
Gas network Cadent is replacing around 2km of a cast iron gas main – which is buried next to the A58 Prescot Bypass – with a modern, durable plastic pipe that will last for at least 80 years.
The work is part of a UK-wide, multi-million pound mains replacement programme to ensure gas is transported safely for many generations, to heat homes, cook meals and provide hot water.
More than 90 per cent of households in St Helens and 87 per cent in Prescot use gas for central heating.
This 12-inch diameter main beside the A58 was installed just after the Second World War and is now showing natural signs of its 73 years of operation.
Cadent, which manages a network of more than 21,000 (mostly) underground gas mains in the North West, has assessed it is now time for it to be replaced.
Engineering teams will be working in the carriageway, with heavy machinery. Planners have agreed with Knowsley Council that one lane of the dual carriageway will be closed for six weeks from January 30, to ensure the first phase of work can be completed safely.
This lane closure will start at the St Helens Road roundabout and run only in the direction of travel towards Liverpool / M57. It is not expected to have a major impact on traffic. The location is on the opposite carriageway to, and does not impact entry to or from, Knowsley Safari Park.
The full project will take 13 weeks, but the lane closure is only needed for the first six. Gas supplies should not be affected by this work.
Craig Horrocks, who heads Cadent’s gas mains replacement programme in the North West, said: “We are upgrading an ageing gas main that helps keep thousands of properties warm, as well as providing gas to cook meals and provide hot water.
“We’ll be undertaking major engineering so must make sure we maintain a safe work area for everyone, but we’re also trying hard not to disrupt everyday life too much.”
Cadent invests around £77million every year to upgrade its older gas mains in the North West region, replacing around 500km of mains annually.
Customers with any questions about this A58 project can speak to the team on 0161 703 1000. More information on Cadent’s mains replacement programme is at www.bettergaspipes.co.uk