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Huge gas main project will mean nine-day junction closure


A HUGE project to upgrade a very old gas main located beside the A580 East Lancashire Road at Lowton, near Warrington, reaches a key phase this weekend.
Since September last year, specialist teams have been replacing a two-mile stretch of leak-prone pipe which is as old as ‘the East Lancs’ itself.
This is a massive undertaking – essential to keeping gas flowing safely and on demand – and has been planned carefully to minimise the impact on traffic.
For most of the project, an off-peak-only lane closure – westbound only – is in place from 9.30am to 3.30 pm, giving the team six hours every day to make progress.
But now they’ve reached a phase which needs different traffic management.
Work must take place on the section which runs directly under the crossing where Newton Road meets the A580 at Lowton.
The team, working on behalf of gas network Cadent, which manages the North West’s gas mains, needs to restrict traffic arrangements at this junction.
The A580 stays open in both directions, but motorists will not be able to turn off it, or onto it, at this junction [NB: this only applies to the junction on the south side].
In consultation with highways officers, it has been agreed to do this in school holidays. The closure starts today (April 5)  and ends on April 14.
This is all part of a multi-million-pound upgrade of a main that carries gas to heat thousands of local homes. The metallic main – installed in the 1930s – is being replaced with a tough, durable plastic pipe that will ensure reliable, safe supplies into the next century.
Every year, Cadent invests around £77.5m upgrading around 310 miles of its older gas mains in the North West region.
Craig Horrocks, who heads Cadent’s gas mains replacement programme, said: “This is a big engineering project, and, to date, we’ve been able to keep the road open by working only in off-peak hours, Monday to Friday.
“But we now need to work on the pipe that’s directly under the crossing at Newton Road and cannot do that safely without closing this junction. We know this is not ideal, but hope people appreciate it’s been planned in during school holidays, when roads are usually quieter.”
A diversion route will be signposted. Letters have been sent to homes in a two-mile radius and warning signs have advised of the measures for the last week.


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  1. I have essential hospital trips to Wigan from Lowton
    Would help a lot to know how the heavy traffic travelling to Manchester
    and back is being diverted, so that I can plan my route to avoid missing

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