Gas upgrade in the pipeline for Rochester as part of £500,000 project

Southern Gas Networks (SGN) has begun work to upgrade the local gas supply network in Rochester.

The existing metal gas main, which is carried across the Medway on Rochester Old Bridge, has come to the end of its useful life. We will be replacing the existing strategic metal pipe with plastic (polyethylene) and steel pipe, which has a minimum lifespan of 80 years. This means less long-term disruption, and a safe and regular supply of gas to homes and businesses for many years to come. The old pipe will be decommissioned and removed.

This essential work forms part of an ongoing mains replacement programme developed with the Health and Safety Executive. The first phase of the project began on Monday, 30 September and will finish by 22 November.

The Rochester Bridge Trust is taking the opportunity as part of our project to undertake essential work on the bridge’s street lights.

During phase one, we’ll be working overnight (8pm-6am) on the footpath and carriageway of the eastbound stretch of the A2 across the bridge, known as the New Bridge, to lay a new gas main. The new main will be laid in the Service Bridge. The road will be open to traffic during the day. The westbound stretch of the A2 on the Old Bridge will be unaffected by the gas upgrade works. There will, however, be separate maintenance work taking place on the Old Bridge from Tuesday 8 to Thursday 10 October. This will involve one lane being closed during off peak daytime hours.

From mid-October, associated work with the project will take place on Network Rail land adjacent to the bridge.

At the start of November, final connections work for the new main will begin. This will involve lane closures on the right hand turn leading from the A2 eastbound to the Esplanade. During this time, the new main will be commissioned, while the old main will be decommissioned. To ensure the safety of the public and our engineers, a signed diversion route will be in place for HGVs travelling east and requiring access to the Esplanade. The alternative route will be via Corporation Street, Star Hill, City Way and the Horsted roundabout. We will finish work on 22 November, in time for the Dickens Festival.

Phase two of the project will take place at the start of 2014. On 3 January, we will return to work within the Old Bridge to remove the decommissioned main over the course of a month. Occasional lane closures eastbound at night-time (8pm-6am) will be required to remove the redundant pipe via crane.

SGN Construction Manager Russell Goodayle said: “All our work is being carried out in close consultation with Medway Council and the Rochester Bridge Trust, and we will be doing everything we can to minimise disruption.

“I would like to apologise for any inconvenience that may be caused by our work. We understand that people can get frustrated by roadworks; however, the new plastic pipe has a minimum lifespan of 80 years. This means that when the work is complete, people will continue to enjoy the benefits of a safe and secure gas supply for years to come.”

A short video is available on our website to explain more about what to expect from our mains replacement work. The video can be found in the Roadworks section at www.sgn.co.uk.

Notes:

1. Southern Gas Networks is part of the Scotia Gas Networks Group, which is the UK’s second-largest gas distribution company, serving four million customers in central southern England and south-east England.

2. Whatever time of day or night, anyone who smells gas should dial the National Gas Emergency Number – 0800 111 999*. Lines are open 365 days a year; calls are free.

3. Find all our press releases and statements on our website – www.sgn.co.uk. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter: @SGNSouthern.

For more information:

Chloe Boyce
SGN Press Office
0845 070 1811