ONE of the main routes into Blackburn town centre will be disrupted for the next three months for essential gas main replacement.

Warning signs are in place on Eanam and Salford and temporary traffic lights are being installed this weekend ready for excavations to begin within days.

The works will replace 500 metres of 100-year-old cast iron mains with new plastic pipes to secure safe gas supplies for 80 years.

Penny Street will be opened to car traffic to ease congestion during the 12-week project with the bus only order revoked by Blackburn with Darwen council.

The route is one of the main ways into the town centre from the Whitebirk Junction Six to the M65.

There will also be some interruption of domestic and commercial gas supplied in the central area of town.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s regeneration and highway chief Maureen Bateson said: “There will be disruption but this is essential work.

“The good news is it will be completed before we resurface the roads in advance of the opening of the new bus station on Ainsworth Street early next year and the completing of the first phase of the Cathedral Quarter in the autumn.”

The work will be carried out by National Grid in partnership with Balfour Beatty along a stretch of Eanam and Salford until it reaches the pathway in front of the Lloyds TSB bank and across to 1 Penny Street.

Project Engineer Karl Armstrong. said: “We recognise that this is a main route into Blackburn town centre and in to complete the work, it will require lane closures.

“We do intend to leave one lane open in each direction to enable traffic to keep moving as much as possible.

“There will be some slight disruption to domestic and commercial supplies, but householders and businesses will be notified in advance.”

Shear Brow ward councillor Solly Khonat said: “This is vital work. The disruption will be worth it in the long run.”

National Grid is renewing around 430km of gas mains in the North West over the next twelve month as part of five-year £22 billion programme of investment in its energy networks.