Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the electricity network that powers everyday life for 8 million people across 3.9 million homes and businesses in the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, is about to start a £9 million investment programme to improve the reliability and resilience of the electricity network serving Darlington.
Starting week commencing 25 January 2021 and running until early 2024, the work focuses on replacing 48km of high voltage underground electricity cables dating back to the 1950s with a more modern and sustainable alternative. This new cabling will be capable of meeting any future increase in the demand for power as the town develops, the population grows and more people swap their cars for electric vehicles.
The work, which is being carried out by O’Connor Utilities on Northern Powergrid’s behalf, will involve excavating in the footpath and roadway at locations across the town. The route involves a number of main roads including Whessoe Road, Salters Lane North, Salters Lane South, Whinfield Road, Stockton Road and Haughton Road plus ancillary roads.
Northern Powergrid has worked closely with Darlington Council to agree the best routes and times for the work to take place.
Work scheduled to take place during the first part of 2021 is as follows, with the schedule for May onwards due to be confirmed over the comings weeks:
End January to mid-February – work takes place in the roadway along John Dixon Lane from near the junction of John Williams Boulevard to the junction of the service road that runs behind Hundens Lane.
End January to end April – multi-way traffic lights will be in operation while work takes place in the footpath and roadway along Whessoe Road from the junction of Longfield Road to the junction of North Road.
Mid to end February – work takes place on Longfield Road from the junction of Whessoe Road to Northern Powergrid’s substation on Percy Road.
February/March – work takes place along Elmtree Street from the junction of Whessoe Road to the entrance of Honeypot Caravan Park.
Mid-February to mid-April – the service road that runs behind the westbound side of Hundens Lane will be closed from the junction of John Dixon Lane up to the second access road while work takes place in the roadway.
Mid to end April – multi-way lights will be in operation while work is carried out in the footpath and roadway along Hundens Lane and Byron Road up to the junction of Arnold Road.
End April to early May – work takes place in the footpath along Arnold Road from the junction of Byron Road to the B6279 bridge.
These dates may be subject to change.
There are no plans to turn off anyone’s power and it is unlikely that access to premises will be required. Pedestrian access will be maintained at all times and Northern Powergrid will ensure that any businesses affected can make arrangements to continue to receive their deliveries.
Northern Powergrid is committed to keeping local people informed and will be writing to anyone directly impacted before work starts along each section of the route.
Paul Dixon, Northern Powergrid’s Customer Service Manager for the Teesside region, said: “We’re always very aware of the potential impact of our work on people’s everyday lives, which is why we’re doing all we can to support and communicate with local people while we carry out this important investment in Darlington’s electricity network.
“We’ll be issuing information to all affected customers to explain what we’ll be doing and when. Our letters will also provide details of how to sign up for free to our Priority Services Membership which offers extra support to customers who may be more vulnerable.
“While we progress with our work in Darlington, we’ll be following the latest government advice to keep our employees, contractors and customers safe and our work will be carried out in line with the latest COVID-19 health and safety guidance. With this in mind, we’re asking customers not to approach our teams if they see them working unless it’s an electricity emergency – and, if they do, to always maintain social distancing.”
People can also find out more about Northern Powergrid’s investment work by visiting the dedicated Darlington pages on the company’s websitenorthernpowergrid.com/darlington or contacting the company’s customer care team by calling 0800 011 3332. The network operator is also available 24/7 on Facebook and Twitter.
For information about joining the electricity distributor’s free Priority Services Membership visit northernpowergrid.com/care or call 0800 169 2996.