St Helens: details of £180,000 upgrade to 1930s gas main

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A major project is set to begin in January to replace one of St Helens’ oldest underground gas mains, which pre-dates the Second World War.
Cadent upgrades about 300 miles of its 21,000-mile North West network every year, as the older pipes reach the end of their safe operating lives.
Modernising metallic stock to tough plastic pipes helps get the local network ready to start carrying green gases like hydrogen, which is vital for a ‘net zero’ future.
Next up in the rolling upgrade programme is a 366-metre long, 15-inch diameter pipe that runs under (across) Borough Road, Prescot Road and into Boundary Road.
Originally installed in 1930, it is one of the key routes for distributing gas to thousands of homes in the local area.
Gas will stay ON throughout the seven-week, £180,000 project, with the new pipe pushed into the old one. This significantly reduces the duration of work.

Planners have worked closely with St Helens Council to keep traffic flowing too.
  • From 5th January to 22nd February, a short section of Borough Road will be reduced to one lane (this may not be in place at all times).
  • From 14th January to 20th January, a short section of Prescot Road will be reduced to one lane (near to Boundary Road).
  • From 21st January to 22nd February, Boundary Road will be a ‘no through road’. During this period, access to Morrisons and Farm Foods will be via Prescot Road only. Advance warning signs will alert motorists.
  • From 21st January to 28th January, there will be no access from Boundary Road to Doulton Road, and vice versa. A diversion will be signposted.
“Upgrading our pipes is absolutely essential to make sure we can continue to distribute gas safely to the local area for heating and hot water,” said Craig Horrocks, who heads Cadent’s gas main upgrade programme in the North West.
“We’re also getting the network ready to safely transport green gases like hydrogen, which we know will be a key means by which we’ll all heat our homes in the future. To reach net zero, we must switch from fossil gas to hydrogen.
“Carrying out major engineering work in busy residential areas is never easy and safety has to be paramount. We’ve worked closely with St Helens Council to minimise the disruption and appreciate everyone’s patience as we get this done.”
Letters are being sent to all properties directly affected.
Access to local businesses, such as Morrisons and Farm Foods, will be maintained (for customers and deliveries).

St Helens - its role in a green energy hydrogen future

Cadent manages the network of more than 21,000 miles of gas pipes in North West England, which distribute gas to 2.7 million homes, hospitals, schools, offices and other buildings, as well as to industry and HGV fuel stations.
More than 90 per cent of homes in St Helens are heated by gas and nearly 80 per cent of the borough’s local gas distribution network is now upgraded to modern plastic pipes.
St Helens is a pioneer town in the use of gas. It was among the first in the UK to establish a municipal supply (in 1832). Now it’s set for a pivotal role in the switch to green gases – with a world-leading hydrogen fuelling trial at Pilkington’s Greengate site among several hydrogen initiatives to have roots in the town.


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.

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