£14m Carlisle water mains re-hab reaches penultimate phase

The biggest ever revamp of Carlisle’s water mains moves into its penultimate phase from next Monday (September 21) as engineers get ready to drill six metres below the River Eden.

The work is part of a three year, £14m, scheme by United Utilities to clean and re-furbish more than 30km of the city’s biggest water pipes.

This latest phase of work will involve re-lining 3.8km of old cast iron water pipe which skirts the northern outskirts of Carlisle. It will start in former school grounds near Victoria Place and end at Newfield Drive, off Kingstown Road, in the middle of February next year.

On its way, the project will have to navigate the River Eden, Rickerby Park, the line of Hadrian’s Wall and Brampton Road. An archaeologist and ecologist will be on standby in the most sensitive areas.

United Utilities’ third party co-ordinator, Paul Wheadon, said: “The work involves putting a strong new plastic lining inside an existing pipe. So, apart from holes in open land where we need to get access to the pipe, and some temporary traffic management on residential streets from time to time, there won’t be too much impact on people’s daily lives.” 

To avoid potential ecological damage to the banks of the River Eden, United Utilities has decided to replace one short section of old pipe with a brand new piece made of durable polyethylene. This will involve drilling six metres underneath the river bed and will be one of the first pieces of work to be completed.

Paul added: “This has been a massive programme of work to upgrade pipes which have served the city well for more than nine decades. Being cast iron, harmless deposits of iron have gradually built up. This was causing occasional temporary discolouration for some people, which we want to stop.

“We have already upgraded more than 25km of Carlisle’s pipes as part of this project, and there is only one more phase after this one, which will be completed in 2021.”

United Utilities will advise residents nearer the time if traffic lights are needed near their homes. People can also keep up-to-date on progress at www.unitedutilities.com/carlisle