A MAJOR project to upgrade one of the borough’s oldest gas mains in Denshaw, which pre-dates the First World War and helps heat thousands of homes, is under way.
Cadent upgrades about 300 miles of its 21,000-mile North West network every year, as the older underground pipes reach the end of their safe operating lives.
As part of this rolling upgrade programme, engineers began work in Denshaw on January 15 to replace a 170-metre section of the local gas network.
The location is at the intersection of Delph Road, Oldham Road, Ripponden Road and Rochdale Road.
They are replacing 50 metres of pipe installed in 1912 and nearly 120 metres of pipe installed in 1950.
These have started to show signs of age in recent years, with increasing visits and associated roadworks needed to maintain and repair them.
To complete the latest work safely, and keep traffic flowing in all directions, lights are managing the movement of vehicles around the area.
These are manned between 7am and 7pm, with the teams working seven days a week on this three-week project.
Gas will stay on throughout. A handful of properties, which take a direct feed from this section of main, will be without supply for less than a day. Advance notice will be given.
Most of the new pipe will be pushed into the old one, a technique which significantly reduces the total duration of work.
“Upgrading our pipes is absolutely essential to make sure we can continue to distribute gas safely to the local area for heating and hot water,” explained Craig Horrocks, who heads Cadent’s gas main upgrade programme in the North West.
“We’re also getting the network ready to safely transport green gases like hydrogen, which we know will be a key means by which we’ll all heat our homes in the future. To reach net zero, we must switch from fossil gas to hydrogen.
“Carrying out major engineering work in busy residential areas is never easy and safety has to be paramount.
“We’ve worked closely with Oldham Council to minimise the disruption and appreciate everyone’s patience as we get this done.”
Contingency plans are in place should there be a closure of the M62, as this section acts as a relief road in such circumstances.
Cadent manages the network of more than 21,000 miles of gas pipes in the North West, which distribute gas to 2.7 million homes, hospitals, schools, offices and other buildings, as well as to industry and HGV fuel stations.
The North West is due to be among the first regions of the UK to see the introduction of hydrogen to the local gas network, as part of a project called HyNet North West.
When used in central heating systems, hydrogen produces no carbon so will be an essential part of the UK energy system in a net zero future.