ENGINEERS are galloping ahead with work to replace a gas main at Chester Racecourse in a bid to cross the finishing line before the new race season starts.
The project is part of a two year programme of gas mains replacement work being undertaken by National Grid.
In all, nearly 9km of new medium pressure gas mains will be laid in Chester city centre at a cost of £2.6m. The new mains will be of a larger diameter than the existing mains to increase the capacity of the local gas supply network.
The new pipes will also be made of durable polyethylene which will have a life-span of around 80 years if undisturbed once in the ground. Once complete, Chester will be one of the first cities in the UK to boast an 'all plastic' network of medium pressure mains.
The work to lay a new main near the stables area of Chester racecourse has been carefully planned with course of ficials.
In all, 500 metres of 630mm and 450mm diameter gas pipes have been laid from the new stable area beyond the railway viaduct and along the perimeter of the racecourse itself.
Project manager Alex Webb said: 'We have worked closely with racecourse officials to plan our work to make sure it is completed before the first race of the new season and we are grateful for the support and understanding they have shown.'
Chris Clayton, development manager for Chester Racecourse, said: 'Obviously, we realise it is essential that this work is done but our main concern is that we don't disrupt the thousands of race-goers who travel for meetings at The Roodee.'
Work at the racecourse is scheduled to finish by the end of March.
Meanwhile, more teams of engineers are hard at work replacing the gas main across Grosvenor Bridge.
Mr Webb said: 'We are grateful for the patience people are showing. We spent many months planning the traffic management around this phase of the work with Cheshire County Council.
'We still have a lot more work to do in the city centre but ultimately, the short-term disruption will allow people to continue to enjoy a safe and reliable gas supply in the long term.'