More road chaos as gas works start

Disruptoon - major gas works have begun on Ripon roads.
Disruptoon - major gas works have begun on Ripon roads.

Ripon is in line for a £250,000 gas upgrade that will see roads disrupted for up to 12 weeks.

Northern Gas Networks is set to renew the gas mains system, and has already begun work at one location in the city.

The works come less than three months after Yorkshire Water started a major upgrade project on their pipes in Ripon.

Water works began in January on Princess Road and Allhallowgate, and are due to finish in two weeks, meaning Allhallowgate homes and businesses could face months of disruption as the two utilities work on the street in quick succession.

Engineers from contractors Enterprise are at work on Allhallowgate between Stonebridgegate and Victoria Grove, where work to replace ageing cast iron gas pipes with modern plastic lines has already begun. The whole project is expected to take 12 weeks to complete.

More engineering works are planned for Allhallowgate, and the contractors will also move in to sites on Market Place, Queen Street, Fishergate and North Street.

The city’s central taxi rank is to move to accommodate the work on Queen Street (Market Place East), and drivers will have to wait at the opposite side of the road to their current home.

A temporary home for some taxis was originally planned in Victoria Grove car park, with four vehicles staying in the established rank, but the plan was abandoned amid concerns it would make it difficult for taxi drivers to man the phone at the Queen Street rank.

Taxi groups raised their concerns with Ripon county councillor Bernard Bateman and organised a meeting with the contractors and both county and borough council officials to find another home for the taxi rank.

Northern Gas Networks has said it hopes to keep disruption to a minimum and finish the project as quickly as possible.

A spokeswoman said: “Our works have been planned with and approved by North Yorkshire County Council’s highway department, which is responsible for the co-ordination of all streetworks in Ripon.

“Progress on Allhallowgate is good although we have had to dig much deeper than anticipated to access the gas main at certain points. For safety reasons this requires the excavation to be protected from collapse with metal panels and supports. Putting this in place has slowed the project a little but we are hopeful that this will not affect the overall duration of the works.”

Northern Gas Networks’ Gordon Thompson said: “We would like to apologise for any inconvenience this essential work may cause. We have planned it very carefully to help minimise disruption and ensure that we get in and out as quickly and safely as possible to allow our customers to start benefiting from the upgrades.

“This year, Northern Gas Networks is investing £63 million to renew gas mains across the region. We use modern technology wherever possible to cut the number of excavations we make.”

With the first phase of the gas works under way some traffic management is already in place, including restrictions on vehicles entering Allhallowgate from Stonebridgegate, Priest Lane and St Marygate.

Temporary four-way traffic lights have replaced the existing light system at the junction of Allhallowgate and Stonebridgegate, and this section of the work is expected to take around two weeks to complete.

Northern Gas’s spokeswoman added: “The gas mains upgrade project is separate from the work being carried out by Yorkshire Water as their pipes are not in the same location as ours, we cannot therefore work in the same excavations.”

Yorkshire Water’s works are progressing well, their spokesman said, and is on schedule to finish by March.

“Local residents have been very patient and complimentary about the standard of the work, and we would like to thank them for that,” he added.

Northern Gas customer liaison officers will be available at a temporary information cabin near the telephone boxes on the market square every Monday, Thursday and Friday, between 10am and 2pm to discuss the ongoing works and give updates as the work progresses.

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