Road closure on Aigburth Road due to repairs to Victorian era gas pipe
A gas pipe buried under Aigburth Road – unseen since the 1860s – is causing a major headache for engineers who need to fix it.
Cadent, which manages the local gas network, was alerted by a member of the public to a smell of gas – indicating a leak – and have traced it to this pipe.
Everything is under control, but essential repairs need to made.
The pipe – near to Home Bargains, and opposite Sefton Park Library – runs directly beneath the central white line of the two city-bound lanes.
To access it, the team has needed to dig a 3m-deep, 3m-wide pit – taking up both lanes.
Cadent has prepared a plan, in conjunction with Liverpool City Council and emergency services, that will involve a change – for around two weeks – to the flow of traffic along Aigburth Road, L17.
Work has now begun to remove a couple of street lighting columns in the central reservation and lower the raised embankment.
This will enable – from Sunday morning (16th July) – the city-bound traffic to merge into one of the two lanes on the opposite side of the carriageway.
It means traffic can continue to flow in both directions, but instead of two lanes each way, there will only be one.
Traffic will be moved to the opposite lane from Tramway Rd, with vehicles rejoining the city-bound carriageway at Parkfield Rd.
Dale Martin, Customer Operations Area Manager, Cadent, said: “This pipe is from a different era, when no-one could possibly have imagined the type of traffic that runs above it today.
“We’d hoped the pipe might be confined to one lane, but we now know it straddles both, and that’s created a big challenge for us.”
Dale added: “What we’re going to do, having consulted the city council and emergency services, is keep traffic flowing in both directions by making some temporary changes to the central reservation.
“I think motorists should still be prepared for traffic to build up and, if they have other routes they can take, it would be wise to do so while we carry out this work.
“The leak itself is under control, but to fix it we need to expose the full circumference of the pipe so that we can carry out a repair technique called ‘encapsulation’. This is basically us wrapping the part with a special casing, stopping the leak.
“I would like to thank everyone for bearing with us – keeping everyone safe is always going to be our first priority, but we are working hard too in order to find ways to keep unavoidable disruption to a minimum.”
As they dug down to the pipe, the Cadent engineers exposed more of the city’s history – tram lines which were left in situ and buried beneath the new road surface when trams stopped being a feature of Liverpool in the 1950s.
If you smell gas:
If you smell gas during this work, nearby or anywhere, always ring the national gas emergency service immediately, day or night, on 0800 111 999*. Do not delay, or assume it’s related to this work. It may not be and must be checked.