Gas main replacements taking place in Penryn for eight weeks from the New Year have been described as “essential” by the company carrying out the work.

Wales and West Utilities will begin work on St Thomas Street on Monday, January 7, which is expected to be completed at the beginning of March.

The project, to replace 150 metres of old metal gas pipes with new plastic pipe, is said to represent a “significant investment” by the gas company, which added the work was “essential to maintain gas supplies to local people and businesses in the area.”

To minimise disruption and excavation, the company will be using ‘keyhole’ techniques to insert new plastic pipe inside the existing metal pipe. The non-corroding plastic pipes should have a lifespan of more than 80 years.

For the safety of road users, pedestrians and the workforce involved, Cornwall Council’s highways department has agreed that St Thomas Street should be closed for the duration of the project.

A diversion route will be clearly signposted and businesses in the affected area will be open as usual, with deliveries allowed to take place.

Paul Trevaskis, project manager from Wales & West, said: “We appreciate that this work is taking place in a sensitive area and we will be working hard to ensure that the project is completed as quickly as possible.

“We are very aware of the effect of this work on local people and businesses and we will be working closely with the local authority throughout the project to ensure that inconvenience to local people and road users is kept to an absolute minimum.”

He added that the work was part of a multi million pound, 30-year replacement programme being carried out across the South West and Wales.