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 several sections of work in and around the town centre as part of its ongoing £9 million investment programme to improve the reliability and resilience of the electricity network serving Darlington.
Work started in early January 2021 on a three-year scheme of work to replace 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, involves excavating in the footpath and roadway at locations across the town. Several sections of this planned work have already been completed along John Dixon Lane, Hundens Lane, Byron Road, Arnold Road, Whessoe Road, Westmoreland Street, North Road and Cleveland Street.
Northern Powergrid is working closely with Darlington Council to agree the best routes and times for the work to take place, specifically around two upcoming road closures which are being carried out over the school holiday period to reduce disruption.
The closures are required because Northern Powergrid needs to work directly underneath two Network Rail bridges where the road is too narrow to allow two-way traffic lights to be used.
Otley Terrace will be closed from the junction of Whessoe Road to the junction of Alliance Street from Monday 2 August 2021 for up to two weeks. A signposted diversion will be in place along Whessoe Road, High Northgate, Station Road and Hopetown Lane.
This will be followed by a road closure on Cleveland Street from Monday 16 August 2021 for up to two weeks. The closure is in place from the junction of Allan Street to the junction of York Street. A signposted diversion will be in place along Allan Street, Barton Street, Haughton Road, St Cuthbert’s Way, Northgate, High Northgate and Albert Road.
From Monday 28 June 2021 for a period of up to ten weeks, Northern Powergrid will also be operating temporary multi-way traffic lights as it works along Haughton Road from close to the roundabout at the junction of the A6279 (Tornado Way) to the roundabout at the junction of Salters Lane South and Haughton Green.
In addition, from Monday 28 June 2021 work is taking place for up to three weeks along Alliance Street from the junction of Otley Terrace to the junction of Brinkburn Road then carrying on down Harcourt Street before turning along the service road running behind Farrer Street/Surtees Street. The team will then continue along Brinkburn Road from the junction of Harcourt Road and then turn into Darrowby Drive, working up until just before the junction of Sildale Close. Temporary multi-way traffic lights will be in operation along sections of the route and some sections of on-street parking may need to be suspended.
Routes and 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: “Since starting in January 2021, we’ve made great progress with our major scheme of investment work in Darlington so far and this has largely been because of the co-operation and support of local people and Darlington Council, for which we’re very grateful.
“We’re aware of the potential impact of our work on people’s everyday lives, which is why we always try to minimise disruption as much as we can; in this case we’re carrying out two essential road closures over the school summer holiday period when traffic is generally lighter.
“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 our free Priority Services Membership which offers extra support to customers who may be more vulnerable.
People can find out more about the Northern Powergrid investment work by visiting the dedicated Darlington pages on the company’s website at northernpowergrid.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 becoming a Priority Services member visit northernpowergrid.com/care or call 0800 169 2996.