Work gets underway on new Ditton Road sub-station in Widnes as Mersey Gateway plans move forward
One of the first physical construction projects associated with the new Mersey Gateway Bridge is now underway in Widnes.
Initial development work on a replacement primary electricity substation for Widnes has begun on part of the former Widnes Tank Container services site in Ditton Road.
The new replacement substation, which is on the quieter section of Ditton Road to the east of Ditton roundabout, is required due to the existing substation being on the proposed route of one of the main access roads to the new Mersey Gateway Bridge. It will need to be demolished to make way for the bridge.
The new replacement 7.5/10 MW substation will be part of the electricity network providing power to local businesses and approximately 1,000 homes across the Widnes area. Scottish Power, the Distribution Network Operator which operates the existing substation in the town, will also be responsible for construction and operation of the new substation.
The site for the new substation, which was acquired by the council last year, has now been handed over to Scottish Power. Its contractor Barhale has begun construction work for a 170sq metre building to house the new substation.
This initial construction phase will continue until the end of January, after which Scottish Power will install the new equipment in spring and the site will undergo commissioning in the summer.
Once it has been through the commissioning phase and has been energised, the existing substation, which adjoins the former Anglo Blackwell site, will be decommissioned and demolished as part of the main bridge contract.
It is anticipated that there will be minimal disruption to traffic travelling on this part of Ditton Road for a four to five week period starting towards the end of January. This is due to cable excavations, which will necessitate blocking off the westbound carriageway to halve its width in this area.
Cllr Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council, said: “The development of this new substation is one of a number of examples where the complexity of the work that we need to do means that we are undertaking advance works so that the main project will be able commence without causing delay”.
Phil McKenna Senior Project Engineer with Scottish Power, said: “We are pleased to be working closely with Halton Borough Council and the Mersey Gateway Project to develop this new facility, which will be an ultra-modern primary substation making redundant our existing primary substation at Ditton Road, making way for the Mersey Gateway Bridge crossing.