■ Work starts 8 January 2018 to replace 3km of underground gas pipes in the Rudheath area
■ Cast iron pipe in service for 70 years must be replaced to ensure reliable gas supply (to an area including Crewe, Nantwich and Middlewich)
■ Church hall event will give residents chance to learn more and highlight any issues
An essential upgrade of 3km of underground gas pipes in Cheshire is set to start in early 2018, ensuring a reliable supply of gas for generations.
Local gas network Cadent begins work on 8 January on a vital pipe that serves a wide area of the county, including Crewe, Nantwich and Middlewich.
In the ground for 70 years, the cast iron pipe is showing natural signs of age, and now needs replacing to keep energy flowing for at least 80 more.
The huge project ranks as the biggest undertaken in the North West region for many years and is scheduled to take 15 weeks.
Cadent and its contractors have worked closely with Cheshire West and Chester Council on timing and traffic management. A section of King Street, Rudheath, will need to be closed as the pipe runs directly underneath it. A signed diversion route will be in place.
Letters are being sent to every property on the roads where work is taking place, with maps showing the diversion routes set by the council.
The customer relations team is keen to learn about any issues that need to be considered and hopefully accommodated. Residents can attend a drop-in session (no appointment necessary) at St Mary’s RC Church, 2 New King Street, Middlewich, 10am to 3pm, on Thursday 14 December, or ring the customer team on 0161 703 1000 / 1010.
Mark Threlfall, who is managing this project for Cadent, said: “The pipe has served the area well since the end of the Second World War, so a terrific bit of engineering.
“But it’s now time for it to be replaced, to ensure safe and reliable gas supplies through Nantwich, Middlewich and Crewe.
“We’ll be increasing the size of the pipe too, installing a plastic pipe the same diameter as a car tyre, which will help with meeting demand for gas in the area.
“This is the biggest single project we’ve done in the last five years in the North West, in terms of upgrading gas pipes. It’s a major engineering feat and, by nature of the fact the pipe is under the road, we just can’t do it without causing some disruption. We’re determined though to keep that to a minimum, which is why we want people to tell us about any local issues.”