Blackpool: major scheme to upgrade old gas main gets under way

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  • Old metallic main first installed in 1953 – the same year as the famous FA Cup ‘Matthews Final’ – to be upgraded and future-proofed
  • This is major engineering work, requiring months of planning and liaison with the local authority, to keep pedestrians, motorists and workers safe
  • The new main will last more than 80 years, ensuring gas flows safely and reliably to homes and businesses in the local area
Work to upgrade and future-proof an underground gas main which has helped heat homes in Blackpool for over 60 years is now under way.
‘Wizard of the Dribble’ Stanley Matthews famously lit up the Blackpool v Bolton Wanderers FA Cup Final and legendary singer Frank Sinatra was on stage at the resort’s Opera House as the gas main under Devonshire Road went in, in 1953.
This 24-inch diameter iron pipe – wider than the diameter of a standard car tyre – distributes gas to the local area, where it is used by 80 per cent of homes for central heating, as well as cooking meals and powering businesses.
It was earmarked for an upgrade by Cadent, which manages the North West’s gas mains, as part of a multi-million-pound programme to replace older pipes with durable plastic, capable of safely delivering gas well into the next century.
Work started this month and will last until the end of August. In total, 790 metres of main will be upgraded, mostly by inserting the new plastic pipe into the old one.
“This is vital work, future-proofing our gas mains so customers in Blackpool can enjoy safe and reliable supplies, for heating their homes and cooking meals,” said Craig Horrocks, who heads Cadent’s mains replacement in the North West.
“Our gas mains are mostly located underneath roads, which means we face a big challenge to safely carry out heavy engineering schemes in close proximity to motorists and pedestrians. So, as you can imagine, the start of work this month in Devonshire Road is actually the culmination of months of planning, including liaising with Blackpool Council to agree the best time to carry out the work and how best to safely manage pedestrians and traffic passing our work area.
“Safety is always our top priority, and I really want to thank people for their patience and understanding as we complete this essential upgrade.”
The traffic management arrangements agreed with the local authority includes two- and three-way traffic lights (manned during peak hours) on Devonshire Road, between Shaftesbury Avenue and Northgate. Access to driveways is being maintained and there should be no disruption to gas supplies.
If you smell gas, do not dismiss it as connected to this work. Report it immediately to 0800 111 999*.
Cadent is a gas distribution network, responsible for safely transporting gas to more than 11 million customers in North West England, the Midlands, East of England and North London, through more than 80,000 miles of pipes. It also provides the 24/7, year-round gas emergency service to the same regions.
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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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