Ancient and Modern: Engineers prepare for final phase of gas mains replacement at historic Roman site

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■   Cadent engineers prep for last phase of essential gas mains replacement project at historic Verulamium Park in St Albans
■   Project has also facilitated the first archaeological dig at the historic site since 1961
■   Work will help safeguard future local gas supplies and a report chronicling new archaeological information will be published
 
Engineers from Cadent are poised to begin the final phase of a project to bring 21st century technology to an ancient Roman site and surrounding area.
 
The final phase of the project will involve replacing approximately 350m of ageing gas mains in Verulamium Park, St Albans, between the Westminster Lodge Athletic Track Pavilion to just before the park exit onto Holywell Hill.
 
Tough new pipes – designed to last at least 80 years - will be inserted into the old pipes, which will mean only a few excavations need to be dug.
 
Work is scheduled to start the week commencing February 26 and last for approximately six weeks.
 
Unlike some of the work carried out by Cadent at the park last year, this phase of work takes place outside the area of the park classed as a scheduled ancient monument, so it will not require an archaeologist to be present during work. Nevertheless Cadent will continue to do all it can to ensure its work has as little impact as possible on the park and the public.
 
Cadent Authorising Engineer Dilbir Chana said: “From the inception of this essential project we’ve worked closely with local authorities and organisations as well as Historic England to ensure our work is delivered as sensitively as possible.
 
“Day to day activities at the park including use of the leisure centre and theatre should not be affected by our work.”
 
Last year Cadent hired specialist archaeological experts to assist it in carrying out work in the scheduled ancient monument part of Verulamium Park. A report detailing the new archaeological finds which were unearthed is due to be published in the near future.
 
Verulamium Park stands on the site of the Roman city of Verulamium, which was once the third largest settlement in Roman Britain after Londonium (modern day London) and Corinium (modern day Cirencester). Britain’s first recorded martyr Saint Alban, from whom the town takes its name, was also beheaded outside the city’s gates on modern day Holywell Hill.
 
Prior to the start of Cadent’s work last year, the last major excavation of the site was carried out when gas mains were last laid there and took place between 1955 and 1961, with eminent archaeologist Sheppard Frere supervising the dig.
 
Local gas supplies will be maintained throughout the project and access will not be required to properties.
For more information on the work call 0800 096 5678, more information on Cadent’s gas mains replacement work can also be found at www.bettergaspipes.co.uk

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Antony Quarrell

antony.quarrell@cadentgas.com

07810 853 075