THE next phase of gas works in Middlewich begins in the New Year and will involve road and footpath closures.

National Grid has announced plans to start work on replacing 526m of gas pipes in the town on Monday, January 14.

The disruption will affect St Michael’s Way, Leadsmithy Street, Lewin Street and Kinderton Street with engineers expected to complete the project by the end of March.

A spokesman for National Grid said: “A number of traffic management measures will need to be put in place to reduce disruption while work is being carried out.

“These will include road, lane and footpath closures but every effort will be made to keep traffic moving.”

Jeff Webb, project engineer, added: “The work includes a stretch where we need to show a great deal of sensitivity close to St Michael’s Church and we are working with an archaeologist on this particular area.”

National Grid has pledged to spend £22billion in its energy networks in the UK and US over a five year period.

In the north west alone, the utility giant will be renewing 554km of old metal gas mains with plastic pipework with a lifespan of 80 years.

National Grid has worked with Cheshire East Council to plan the schedule of work.

Clr Rod Menlove, cabinet member for environment, said: “We would urge motorists and pedestrians to bear with us while the traffic management measures are in place.

“We are working closely with our partners National Grid to ensure that there is no unnecessary disruption to traffic flow and that the works are completed efficiently and on time.”