Published: Tuesday, 9th Apr 2019

A multi-million-pound upgrade of a gas main that is crucial to keeping thousands of Bolton homes warm has been scheduled to start in April.

Cadent, which manages the North West’s gas mains, needs to replace the main under Blackburn Road as it is old and at the end of its life, after more than 100 years of operation.

This is a huge challenge – to carry out a big, essential engineering project in the middle of a densely populated area, on a heavily used road, while ensuring everyone is safe at all times.

After months of planning and liaison locally, details of the work can now be revealed.

Once work is completed on a similar-age pipe on the same local network, in nearby Halliwell Road, the team will move onto the Blackburn Road scheme.

Work is currently expected to start on April 15.

“This scheme is part of our £77.5m investment every year to future-proof the North West’s gas mains,” said Craig Horrocks, who heads up Cadent’s gas mains replacement in the region.

“This is one of many schemes across the North West – replacing the current, often very old, metallic gas mains with tough, durable plastic pipes that will safely distribute gas into the next century.

“Our gas mains – like here in Blackburn Road – are usually directly under the road surface, so causing disruption is just unavoidable. We’ve worked with the local authority, Bolton Council, to plan this work in phases, making sure we keep one lane of Blackburn Road open always.

“We appreciate this not ideal, but hope people understand this is vital work to ensure a continued safe and reliable supply of gas – and our priority is to get the work done safely.”

The scheme will take place in five phases (these dates may change):

  • Phase One: Canning Street to Astley Street. Starts April 15, for three weeks.
  • Phase Two: Astley Street to the Bridge. Starts May 6, for seven weeks.
  • Phase Three: Work in Bridge area. Starts June 24, for four weeks
  • Phase Four: Bridge to side of Asda petrol station. Starts July 24, for four weeks.
  • Phase Five: Near junction Halliwell Road to junction Canning Street. Starts September 2, for seven weeks.

Cadent will ensure traffic lights are manned at peak times, so they can be manually controlled to optimise traffic flow. Warning signs will be put out two weeks prior to the start of each phase and the team will work seven days a week throughout the five phases.

There will be some localised road closures – where roads join Blackburn Road – and diversions will be signposted.

In some cases, supplies to individual properties will need to be isolated (switched off temporarily). Notice will be given, and supplies will be restored the same day.