Bolton: end in sight for seven-month project to upgrade 1.4km of old gas main under Blackburn Road

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  • Gas network Cadent invests more than £440,000 to upgrade an old gas main that helps ensure thousands of homes in Bolton are warm in winter
  • 1,400 metres of this underground cast iron pipe – which records indicate is more than a century old – is being safely decommissioned and replaced
  • This is major engineering work in a residential area, along a very busy road; safety of pedestrians, motorists and workers has been paramount

A huge engineering project to upgrade and future-proof 1,400 metres of a very old gas main running under one of Bolton’s busiest roads is nearing completion.
Cadent, which manages the North West’s gas mains, is investing £440,000 to replace a large section of its 15-inch diameter cast iron main, parts of which have been operating under Blackburn Road for more than 110 years.
This has involved major engineering, with heavy machinery operating in a densely-populated, residential area, and along a very busy road. The safety of residents, motorists and workers has been the main priority.
More than 84 per cent of the 116,371 households in Bolton use gas for central heating, with many also using it to cook meals and for hot water. Careful planning has gone into keeping homes and businesses on gas during this work.
Craig Horrocks, who manages Cadent’s gas main replacement programme in the North West, said: “This is big engineering and before we began this project in April we worked closely with Bolton Council for many months to plan out a seven-month scheme of work that has kept gas flowing and everyone safe.
“The end is now in sight, with our programme due to finish next month.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding. We know this has been disruptive, but we hope people understand the work is essential to maintain a long-term, safe gas supply for the area. It will also mean the end of frequent, equally-disruptive visits to carry out repairs on what was a very old gas main.”
This project in Blackburn Road forms part of a much bigger programme to upgrade old metallic gas mains across the UK, over several decades. Some of these pipes have been in the ground and distributing gas since the 19th century.
If you smell gas, do not dismiss it as connected to this work. Report it immediately to the national gas emergency number 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.


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.

Cadent manages the national gas emergency service free phone line on behalf of the gas industry - 0800 111 999*

Cadent Gas Ltd is owned by a consortium of global investors.

*All calls are recorded and may be monitored.

Media contacts

Kevin Hegarty

07970 694897