Oldham: major upgrade of 19th century gas main set to begin

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  • 200 metres of gas main underneath A62 Huddersfield Road – a pipe that has been operating since 1890 – is being 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; it will mean the end of increasingly-frequent roadworks needed to fix leaks on the old pipe
Work to upgrade and future-proof an underground gas main, which has helped heat homes in Oldham for nearly 120 years, is set to begin on Monday (23 September).
Cadent, which manages the North West’s gas mains, needs to replace a 200-metre section of the old metallic main under Huddersfield Road, Waterhead. Records suggest the current 16-inch diameter main was installed in 1890.
It has been identified for replacement as part of a 30-year, multi-million-pound, UK-wide programme to upgrade ageing gas mains and ensure the local networks are ready to carry ever-greener gases to heat homes for generations.
More than 85 per cent of the 89,703 households in Oldham use gas for central heating, with many also using it for cooking meals and hot water.
Work starts on Monday (23/09) and is expected to last six weeks, ending early in November. It will be completed in two 100-metre phases. The first phase – between Stephenson Street to close to Heywood Street – will take three to four weeks. The team will them move on towards the A62 junction with Howard Street.
This big main is directly under the road and work will take place in the Oldham-bound carriageway. The road stays OPEN but traffic lights will manage the flow of vehicles in both directions. These lights will be manned from 7am to 7pm and controlled automatically at other times. Teams will work seven days a week.
During phase two, for safety reasons, there will be no access from or to Huddersfield Road from Cobden Street or Buckley Road. The same applies to Heywood Street and Brideoake Street for the last two weeks of the project.
“This is vital work, future-proofing our gas mains so customers in Oldham 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 Huddersfield Road is actually the culmination of months of planning, including liaising with Oldham 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.”
Home owners and businesses in the immediate vicinity will receive letters about the work. This explains that a customer team is available on 0161 703 1110. 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.
*Calls to this number are recorded and may be monitored.


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