WORK is starting on a new £500,000 project to relay underground electricity cables through some of the oldest parts of Burnley.

Just 12 months ago the laying of new gas pipes along Westgate and Trafalgar Street brought part of the town centre to a standstill.

But it is hoped the latest project, on behalf of Electricity North West, will not lead to similar hold-ups.

Their undertaking will see 1.6km of subterranean cabling laid from Centenary Way to Athletic Street.

The scheme will see oil-filled cabling, which dates back around 50 years, replaced with new environmentally-friendly wiring.

Chris Dunn, the utility company’s major projects programme manager, said: “This project will help secure the supply of electricity to local residents and businesses for many years to come.

“It is vital that we replace and upgrade these cables, which have been in place for many years, to ensure customers receive the power they need.

“Unfortunately there is no way to install underground cables without some disruption, but I hope drivers and residents in the area understand the need for this essential project and we promise to keep any disruption to a minimum.”

Electricity engineers have been working closely with the highways authority, Lancashire County Council, to plan out their schedule.

Temporary traffic lights will need to be installed on Centenary Way until some of the essential work has been undertaken.

The company has set up an information line on 0800 195 4141 for anyone wanting more details about the works.