MAJOR work to ensure St Helens’ underground gas network is ready to keep homes warm through future winters is due to start on Monday (August 8).

Cadent, which manages the local gas network, is calling time on a section of pipe that runs under Jackson Street, Gaskell Street and Sutton Road.

It says the old metallic main is now showing signs of its age and to protect supply to the local area, it needs to be replaced with a modern, durable plastic pipe.

Nearly 800 metres of new pipe will be installed, tested and then commissioned, the equivalent length of around eight football pitches.

Gas stays on during the work – and there should be no disruption to supply.

Carrying out this work now also future-proofs the network, helping get it ready for the arrival – as soon as this decade – of cleaner gases such as hydrogen.

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As the pipes run beneath the roads and footpaths, Cadent has worked with St Helens Council to agree temporary traffic arrangements for the project.

For around a month, starting on September 5, there will be a short diversion signposted for vehicles that would normally head on to Jackson Street and Gaskell Street from Sutton Road.

However, for the rest of the 19-week project, traffic lights will be used to enable the safe movement of vehicles around the work area, as it progresses along the route in stages.

St Helens Star: Gas pipesGas pipes

Metallic gas mains like these are being upgraded across the North West, as part of an £800m investment by Cadent over the next five years.

This year’s programme aims to upgrade 450,000 metres of pipes in the North West. This includes around 2,600 metres in the borough of St Helens.

Craig Horrocks, head of Cadent’s North West Investment Planning Office, said: “Our job is to keep gas flowing to heat homes, schools, offices and many other buildings in the local area, as well as future-proof the network ready for hydrogen.

“This work in St Helens is an essential part of our programme to upgrade the older pipes within the network. More than 90 per cent of homes in the St Helens borough have gas central heating, so this work now ensures we’re ready to safely deliver that gas now, through the colder winter months, and for generations to come.”