Major engineering work began this month (3 Jan) to move more than 550 metres of underground gas pipe in Dudley, to enable the extension to West Midland Metro.
Teams working for gas network Cadent are diverting a large section of pipe – the equivalent length of about five full-sized football pitches – in the Netherton area.
Unseen underground, this is the means by which gas is distributed to help heat thousands of local homes, schools, offices, and other buildings.
The 180mm-diameter main is close to (and in some sections, directly under) the route of the 11km tram line extension, to Tipton, Dudley and Brierley Hill.
Safety is the absolute priority for Cadent, but its teams have also been mindful of the importance of keeping gas flowing throughout this 14-week project. Gas will stay ON throughout, meaning there should be no interruption to supply in the area.
The engineers are working in the road, so temporary traffic lights will be in place. This is mostly in the Gawne Lane and Powke Lane area. Please budget extra time for your journeys to get through these lights. Local businesses and services, including Rowley Regis Hospital, are being kept up to date, with access maintained.
Mark Briggs, Head of Investment – West Midlands, Cadent, said: “We operate and maintain essential gas infrastructure, relied on by millions of people in Dudley and the West Midlands to keep them warm in their homes.
“When major developments happen near our pipes, we need to make sure they’ll remain safe and accessible. So, to enable the new tram route, we’re moving around 550 metres of pipe.
“This is essential work, ensuring we can meet the year-round demand for gas to heat homes and other buildings, as well as for hot water and cooking.
“Our absolute priority with jobs like these is to get the work completed safely, while working with local businesses, residents and services – such as the local hospital in this case – to maintain access. We appreciate everyone’s understanding and patience while we complete this 14-week project.”
If you smell gas
If you smell gas during this work, nearby or anywhere, always ring the national gas emergency service immediately, day or night, on 0800 111 999*. Do not delay, or assume it’s related to this work. It may not be and must be checked.
Cadent in the West Midlands
Cadent operates four of the UK’s eight gas distribution networks: North West, West Midlands, Eastern and North London. Its West Midlands network covers a wide area from North Staffordshire to Herefordshire, reaching the M1 in the East and the Welsh borders on the West.
Hundreds of engineers and support teams ensure 24/7, year-round management of an underground piped gas distribution network which, if placed end to end, stretches to more than 15,000 miles. That’s almost 4.5 times the distance from Dudley to New York.
Cadent also provides the region’s gas emergency service, with operatives ready to respond quickly, day and night, to reported gas escapes or carbon monoxide incidents, or to support the blue-light emergency services dealing with incidents where gas is present (e.g. house fires).
Over the next five years, Cadent will invest £288million to upgrade older gas mains in the West Midlands’ network. These pipes safely, reliably and out-of-sight (underground) distribute gas that keeps people warm in their homes. More than 85 per cent of households in Dudley have gas central heating.
This West Midlands Network is playing a huge role in helping to switch the gas grid away from fossil fuels, with Cadent, Keele University and other partners recently completing a UK-first trial of blending hydrogen into the existing gas pipe network. Using hydrogen in this blended way is a key step to converting the UK-wide system – essential to achieving net zero carbon emissions.