- Essential work to ensure continued safe and reliable distribution of gas to heat homes
- Only 60 properties will have a short interruption to gas supply (they will be put back on gas the same day they go off); gas stays ON for the wider area throughout the works
- Traffic management plan has been agreed with Sefton Council, to minimise disruption
A major project to ‘retire’ and replace a big, underground Southport gas main, which has reached the end of its operational life after 90 years of keeping homes warm, starts soon.
Engineers will move into Sussex Road on 9 November to replace 1,281 metres of cast iron pipe.
It’s as wide as a car tyre and part of a network that helps heat thousands of homes in the local area.
This £640,000 investment by Cadent, which manages the North West’s 21,000-mile underground gas network, will end increasingly-frequent visits – and therefore roadworks – to repair this ageing pipe.
Cadent has sent teams to fix issues with the metallic main 23 times in the last 10 years.
Installed just before the Second World War began, it runs directly underneath the road surface, so a detailed plan has been prepared to keep everyone safe and limit the amount of disruption.
Work is set to begin on 9 November and is expected to complete in March. On-site work will stop completely for several weeks for the Christmas ‘stand down’ period – when Sefton Council asks utilities to stop all but emergency roadworks in the area – and resume in January.
The section of pipe that’s being replaced with tough, durable plastic stretches from outside Victoria Methodist Church to just beyond Tithebarn Road.
The teams will work only on 200 metres at a time, with traffic lights controlling the safe movement of vehicles around the work area. Some of the adjoining side roads will be closed for a few days, when the work crosses them, and diversion routes will be signposted when this happens.
Access will be maintained to all properties and businesses – all of which remain OPEN.
Gas stays ON too
– there should be no interruption to local supplies, except for 60 properties along the road that will temporarily lose supply for no more than a day. Advance notice will be given, and engineers will ensure gas is back on in these properties on the same day it goes off.
Customer teams are speaking and writing to residents and local businesses to explain the project.
“This is an old pipe, a workhorse of the gas network installed some 90 years ago,” said Craig Horrocks, who heads Cadent’s gas mains replacement programme in North West England. “It is though starting to show signs of its age and must now be replaced to ensure safety and reliability.”
He added: “We’ve worked closely with Sefton Council to come up with a plan that minimises the inevitable disruption that happens with major engineering work like this. We know it’s not ideal and I really appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we get this essential work done.”
Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council's Cabinet Member for Locality Services, said: "This is yet another example of great partnership work between Cadent and our highways network team at Sefton Council.
"There should be no interruption to local supplies, except for 60 properties along the road that will temporarily lose supply for less than a day.
"We have made sure access will remain to all properties and businesses, which can stay open with minimal disruption.
"Ourselves and our partners remain committed to ensuring Sefton soon becomes a net zero emissions borough and to that end plans are at an advanced stage to introduce green gases like hydrogen to the gas network soon."
Cadent in the North West
Cadent manages 21,000 miles of gas mains and hundreds of above ground stations that distribute gas to more than 2.7 million homes across North West England. If placed end to end, that amount of pipes would run from Southport all the way to Sydney, and back again. Every year, it upgrades more than 300 miles of pipes in the North West, as they reach the end of their safe working lives.
This huge, mostly unseen network carries gas that help heat around 83 per cent of all UK homes (87% in Sefton), as well as supplying schools, offices, businesses, industry, and fuelling HGVs.
Gas has been a feature of the UK energy system for over 200 years, with a long future ahead.
Plans are advanced to introduce green gases like hydrogen to the gas network in North West England soon, playing a big role in the UK journey to net zero. Unlike methane, (the gas mostly used today), there are no carbon emissions from hydrogen at point of use – just heat and water.