Work is set to begin on Tuesday (4 August) to fix a gas pipe that sits at least 1.5 metres underneath a busy road junction in Liverpool.
Gas network Cadent needs to repair a joint on a large cast iron main beneath the A59, at the junction where Walton Vale meets Warbreck Moor.
Investigation work recently discovered a small leak of gas at the point where two large mains meet.
The biggest main is the same diameter as a car tyre.
While the level of gas escaping is very low – way below levels to require action such as evacuation – it must be fixed as soon as possible, before it gets any worse.
The pipe runs directly under the carriageway and a large excavation will be needed to access it.
With the agreement of Liverpool City Council, the northbound carriageway (heading away from the city, towards Aintree) will be closed at this junction.
A short diversion will be signposted and the work should be completed within two weeks.
The southbound lanes (heading towards the city) are unaffected.
Elliott Nelson, Cadent’s Head of Customer Operations for Merseyside, said: “This is essential work to make sure we keep the local gas network operating safely.
“The top of the main is at least 1.5 metres below the surface, so we will need to dig even deeper than that to expose the full pipe and carry out an encapsulation of the joint.
“We know this is a busy road, albeit a little quieter right now than usual.
“We’ve looked at all options to try and minimise disruption, but there’s just no way to keep a safe enough distance for vehicles to pass, particularly HGVs and buses which use this route.
“So, while this isn’t ideal, we hope people understand why we’ll have to close the northbound lanes.”
Cadent in the North West
Cadent manages the 21,000 miles of gas mains that run under North West England. These carry gas safely to 2.7 million properties. If placed end to end, that amount of pipes would run from Liverpool to Sydney, Australia, and back again.
Working from 14 depots, including Bootle, Garston and Ellesmere Port, Cadent also provides the North West’s 24/7, 365-day gas emergency service.
More than 80 per cent of the Merseyside’s households are heated by gas, as well as most schools, hospitals and other buildings. Energy-intensive North West industry also depends heavily on mains gas and it is the fuel of choice for many HGV fleets, as a much greener option than diesel.