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A New Broom for the Lune: sewer work plans announced

John Freeman
United Utilities engineers will be carrying out exploratory work in Lancaster city centre from next week,  as part of a major scheme to clean up the River Lune.

United Utilities is increasing the size of the local sewer network, to protect the river from sewer spillages. The £9 million project will protect local wildlife, and ensure cleaner bathing waters at nearby Heysham and Morecambe.

The scheme has already been underway for six months in Skerton, with works that have seen Lune Street operating one-way traffic for some time.

From next week, engineers will be digging trial holes in the city centre, to prepare for future work. The water company plans to construct two large new underground stormwater tanks in the city centre in 2013/14, and needs to test ground conditions to ensure the work can be carried out safely.

The exploratory work will take place in several locations, as follows:

• Trial holes will be dug at the bus station, and Damside Street taxi rank from Monday 23rd January, for up to two weeks. Bus services will continue to operate as normal, but the taxi rank will be temporarily relocated to Chapel Street pay and display car park for approximately one week. Chapel Street car park will be closed to drivers during this period.

• Night work will take place on Rosemary Lane, starting Monday 30th January at least a week at night. Engineers will be digging trial holes overnight, to avoid disrupting general traffic and buses.

- Night work on Damside Street (the opposite end from the bus station) will take place from Monday 6th February, lasting until until mid-February.

- Trial holes work will take place in the retail car park off Bulk Road for two weeks from Monday 13th February. The working area will be cordoned off, and the car park open as normal to shoppers.

"Our engineers have been a regular fixture in the north of the city for several months," notes United Utilities project co-ordinator John Byron. " In 2013, we expect to be moving work into parts of the city centre, to further improve the sewer network serving the area.

"We need to dig trial holes, to get a clearer idea of the ground conditions that we will encounter. We're carrying out a lot of this exploratory work out at night, to minimise traffic disruption.

"The legacy of this scheme will be a cleaner, greener Lancaster. It's vitally important for the city's environmental, and economic future."

The scheme is a key part of United Utilities' record-breaking £3.6 billion 2010-2015 investment programme for the North West, which is improving the region's water and sewer network, and helping deliver a cleaner environment.

• A drop-in session for members of the public will be held on Tuesday 23rd January at The Gallery, The Dukes, Moor Lane, Lancaster from 3-7.00pm. United Utilities' project team will be on hand to discuss the work, and answer any questions.