Rising to the challenge: delivering an essential £1m gas scheme and making sure a major UK bakery can put bread on your table

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A £1m scheme to divert a major underground gas main – an essential means to deliver gas to keep thousands of Cheshire homes warm – is now completed.

Teams working for the local gas network Cadent faced multiple challenges, and not all of them related to engineering, as they moved a big steel pipe in Northwich.
The work, over five months, needed to take place before planned improvements can be made to the entrance from the A556 to Gadbrook Business Park.
It mainly took place out of sight, with engineers three metres below ground at times, and behind screened-off fencing. However, the engineering aspects were not the only major conundrums that had to be dealt with during the project.
This was beside a four-lane, national speed limit carriageway, with a pedestrian subway the only way to safely get from one side to the other. Welding works needed to take place in close proximity to the entrance, so the subway had to be closed.
Cadent teams instead created a safe means to cross the road above ground, with temporary lights set up, manned at all times. This meant people could get to and from work, and pedestrian access was maintained to a Covid vaccination centre.
Another challenge was working right in front of one of Britain’s busiest bakeries, in Roberts Bakery, as well as a major distribution centre for grocery giant Morrisons. The gas teams liaised closely with the logistics managers of both businesses, making sure delivery trucks could get on and off site without major disruption.
Kevin Flynn, Engineering Manager for Cadent (North West), said: “This is the first scheme of its kind we’ve undertaken in this region for many years and it came with challenges that were over and above the engineering aspects.
“The team did a fantastic job, often working in confined spaces, in successfully diverting around 150 metres of 10-inch steel intermediate pressure [IP] pipe.
“At points, the pipe was 2.5 metres deep, so the excavations were deeper. We also had to take the pipe up a three-metre embankment. Through detailed planning, excellent on-site work and brilliant day-to-day management of the project by Ian Nestor and Paul Phillips, we safely delivered, and kept gas on at all times.”
The work was delivered by Cadent’s local delivery partner R&R, with welding and hydrostatic testing carried out by PMC.


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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