Sunday, 2 September 2012

Latest on Theale High Street gas main replacement project

I met the Southern Gas Network manager responsible for the replacement of gas mains in Theale High Street yesterday (Saturday 1st September). The project is part of a programme to replace all steel gas mains with plastic ones.

No labour is available to start work tomorrow (3rd September), the original start date, so the start is likely to be postponed until 10th September. However, if labour becomes available work could start earlier.

The first section to be worked on is that between the M4 and Woodfield Way. This will require excavation across the road and footpath to connect to the gas pressure station just beyond the last house. The gated off area will be used for compounds to store equipment and materials.

A public meeting to inform affected residents and businesses will be held before work starts in the main part of the High Street.

The work is to replace two steel gas mains on the south side of the street with plastic ones. There is also a gas main on the north side of the street, but this is not being replaced in this project. The new plastic mains will be pushed through the old ones. This is to minimise disruption.

The main nearest the footway will require a hole to be dug about every 40-50 metres to access the old pipe. An area in the parking bays of about this length will also be required to store and weld the new pipes. Holes will also have to be dug to re-connect each property that has a gas supply. Steel gas pipes to properties will also be replaced. Properties should not have their gas cut off for more than 8 or 9 hours.

SGN are planning to insert the new pipe in the other main, for the complete length of the main part of the High Street, in one operation. Pushing such a length involving this diameter pipe (250mm) has not been done before.

Inter-connections at the Hoad Way and Station Road junctions will required holes to be dug. It may be necessary to control traffic with temporary traffic lights while this is going on.

The project schedule extends to 3rd December, but this includes contingency. It is hoped that it will be finished before the Christmas Lights event on the evening of 1st December.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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