A major project is set to get underway next month to replace one of Southport’s oldest and largest gas main lines, which pre-dates the Second World War.

Over 1,000 metres of gas piping will be officially ‘retired’ and replaced after faithfully supplying the town with gas for more than 90 years.

Engineers from Cadent are set to begin works on the pipeline, which is situated under Sussex Road, in early November.

Cadent, which manages the North West’s 21,000-mile underground gas network, has announced the £640,000 works will end increasingly frequent visits, and as a result roadworks, to repair this ageing pipe.

Thanks to advances in new technology, there is only expected to be minimal disruption to gas supply in the area with just 60 homes seeing a short interruption of gas supply.

While a small number of homes will be without gas for less than a day, the full project will run for around four months. This is because of the complex engineering required to decommission and replace the old pipe, and to make sure everyone is kept safe while carrying out the work.

Sussex Road will remain open to traffic throughout the duration of the works, with temporary traffic lights controlling the safe movement of vehicles around the on-site engineers.

Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Locality Services, said: “This is yet another example of great partnership work between Cadent and our highways network team at Sefton Council.

“There should be no interruption to local supplies, except for 60 properties along the road that will temporarily lose supply for less than a day.

“We have made sure access will remain to all properties and businesses, which can stay open with minimal disruption.

“Ourselves and our partners remain committed to ensuring Sefton soon becomes a net zero emissions borough and to that end plans are at an advanced stage to introduce green gases like hydrogen to the gas network soon.”

Craig Horrocks, who heads Cadent’s gas mains replacement programme in North West England, said: “This is an old pipe, a workhorse of the gas network installed some 90 years ago.

“It is, though, starting to show signs of its age and must now be replaced to ensure safety and reliability.

“We’ve worked closely with Sefton Council to come up with a plan that minimises the inevitable disruption that happens with major engineering work like this.

“We know it’s not ideal and I really appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we get this essential work done.”

The work on Sussex Road is due to start on 9 November 2020 and continue to March. On-site work will stop completely for several weeks for the Christmas ‘stand down’ period – when Sefton Council asks utilities to stop all but emergency roadworks in the area.

The 60 properties that will temporarily lose supply take a direct feed from the pipe, so they need to be safely connected into the new one. They will be given advance notice and will have their supply restored the same day it goes off.

Letters are being sent to all properties directly affected and teams will visit each property to check if there are any specific individual circumstances to accommodate and support

Cadent upgrades around 1.5% of its 21,000 miles of North West gas mains every year, as the older pipes reach the natural end of their working lives. Metallic pipes are now mostly upgraded to plastic, which helps get the network ready for a green future.

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com

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