One of the UK’s oldest working gas mains – thought to be nearly 170 years of age – is about to be upgraded, supporting plans to further regenerate Liverpool’s iconic waterfront.
Work starts on Monday (1 April) to replace the Victorian era main under the city’s ‘Dock Road’, an essential precursor to breathing new life into this historic local area.
Records indicate the cast iron main was installed in 1850, during the port’s bustling heyday, and just a few years after nearby docks such as Waterloo, Victoria and Albert Docks first opened.
Now showing signs of its age, and with plans advancing to redevelop this area north of the city, the company which manages the North West’s gas mains is going to replace it.
Gas distribution network Cadent will replace a 1.5km section of the 20-inch-diameter pipe under Regent Road (it also runs into Waterloo Road) with a new, durable plastic one.
Motorists should expect to see traffic lights controlling the flow of vehicles around the work area, with some road closures (and diversions) nearer the end of the 29-week scheme.
This is one of several major mains replacement schemes starting in Merseyside and Wirral on Monday, as Cadent begins its 2019/20 work programme.
By investing around £77.5m every year to upgrade its older mains in the North West, Cadent ensures gas flows safely and ‘on demand’ to heat millions of homes, fuel vehicles and power industry.
Other local schemes starting Monday include the replacement of 1.1km of metallic main under Grafton Street, Liverpool. This is another very old pipe, with records indicating it was installed in the 1870s. Starting near to Park Street, and over 11 weeks, specialist teams will work in phases towards an end close to Brindley Street.
Over ‘the water’, in Wallasey, engineers move into Manor Road on Monday to begin a scheme that will see around 1km of gas mains replaced (taking in Grosvenor Street and Westminster Road too). Although younger than the other two, it is still a near centenarian, having been installed in 1920. The mains replacement work here is expected to take around nine weeks.
“This is vital work, future-proofing our gas mains so that Merseyside and Wirral – where more than 80 per cent of homes rely on gas for central heating – can enjoy safe and reliable future supplies,” said Craig Horrocks, who heads Cadent’s gas mains replacement programme 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 on the ground is actually the result of months – and sometimes years – of meticulous planning. This includes liaising with local authority highways teams – in this case Liverpool City and Wirral Councils – to agree the best time to carry out the work, as well as how best to safely manage pedestrians and traffic passing nearby.
“Safety is always our top priority, and I really want to thank people for their patience and understanding as we complete these essential upgrades.”
To keep gas flowing to 2.7 million properties in the North West, Cadent manages a network of more than 22,000 miles of mostly underground gas mains.
It is part-way through a 30-year programme to upgrade its older stock, investing around £77.5m every year to replace around 310 miles of pipes in the North West region alone.
Before it begins work, advance letters are sent to homes and businesses within the direct work area, and advance warning signs are used where appropriate. Customer teams also visit door-to-door and are available on 0161 703 1000 to answer any queries or concerns.