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    Loss of gas – Ingham 10 Jul 2024 12: 30 PM

    Stretford: how a smell of gas led to a huge engineering operation to prevent 50,000 homes being without heat over winter

    18 March 2024

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    • Cadent issues update on major gas works ongoing in Kings Road since November – and confirms date when the road will reopen

    What started as a routine call to a smell of gas in Trafford became a five-month operation to avert the risk of 50,000 homes being without heat over winter.

    Cadent engineers have been working in Kings Road, Stretford, since November – initially as an emergency to stop gas getting into nearby buildings, and then to carry out a full reconstruction of the local gas network, above and below ground.

    Much of the work has been taking place out of sight – either 3.5 metres underground and behind screens, or inside a gas pressure station beside the road.

    But images released today reveal the scale and extent of the task that Cadent’s engineers have been undertaking.


    An update that will be welcomed by many motorists is that Cadent plans to lift the current closure of Kings Road by 1st April at the latest, with the job complete. [Update: the road will reopen by 6pm on 28th March]

    Cadent had initially been called out to the area after a report of a smell of gas. This is not unusual, as hundreds of similar such calls are made every day and night to the 24-hour national gas emergency service (0800 111 999*).

    Engineers traced the smell to a steel pipe deep under the road surface.

    When they dug down to inspect the pipe, they found evidence of severe corrosion.

    Immediate actions were taken to make sure the leak was brought under control and the risk to people in nearby buildings was removed.

    It soon became clear the solution was to install around 200 metres of new large-diameter pipe (the same length as two football pitches).

    Major modifications would also be needed to a nearby pressure management station, a facility which is essential to the safe distribution of gas to the local area.

    Other critical utilities were in close proximity to this pipe, including high voltage electricity cables and other gas pipes. And huge bespoke sections of pipeline were needed, some of which had manufacturing lead times of 12 to 24 weeks.

    The challenge went up another notch when analysis confirmed this pipe transports gas used by nearly 50,000 homes, as well as a hospital, schools and other customers, including 45 industrial users and 1134 commercial premises.


    Cadent’s engineers devised a plan that saw a ‘bypass’ created around the corroded section. This meant gas could keep flowing to properties in the area, while the team got to work installing the new 630mm diameter pipework and parts.

    The team found ways to reduce the overall duration of the project, without compromising safety. This included sourcing some parts from China and Germany, which reduced the amount of time the engineers had to wait for their arrival on site.

    Last week, a critical stage in the project was successfully completed – which allowed the old pipe to be decommissioned. The engineers will carry out some final tasks over the coming weeks, and will then reinstate the road to good standard.

    Paula Steer, Cadent’s North West Network Director, said: “This started off as a routine job, but has turned out to be anything but.

    “It’s been urgent, critical work, challenging even for our most experienced engineers, to keep everyone safe and keep people warm in their homes through the winter.

    “I know the road closure has been disruptive and frustrating for motorists, but I hope people understand that what we’ve been dealing with here has been far from ordinary or routine.

    “It’s been critical work, challenging even for our most experienced engineers, to keep everyone safe and keep people warm in their homes through the winter.

    “I just want to say thank you for everyone’s patience and understanding. We are into the final weeks of this now and we should have Kings Road open again soon.”


    Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy. We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change. Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency. Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing.

    Future of Gas:

    Here at Cadent we support the Government’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050. That means we’re backing the introduction of hydrogen as a low carbon alternative to natural gas for the future. We know people love the controllability of gas and, with our network already in place, it makes sense to switch to the lower carbon alternative offered by hydrogen, which we believe can keep homes and businesses warm for generations to come.

    Cadent manages the national gas emergency service free phone line on behalf of the gas industry - 0800 111 999*

    Cadent Gas Ltd is owned by a consortium of global investors.

    *All calls are recorded and may be monitored.

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