A BUSY road junction on the East Lancashire Road (A580) is set to be closed off for nine consecutive days as part of gas main upgrades.

The junction at Newton Road in Lowton on the south side of the East Lancs, near the Miller and Carter restaurant, will shut from 9am tomorrow, Saturday, until Sunday, April 14.

This means motorists on the East Lancs will not be able to turn off at the junction during this period and those coming from the south of Newton Road will not be able to join the busy road.

The East Lancs will remain open in both directions though.

The north side of the junction, which leads to Leigh, will not be closed.

The decision was made to do the work during the school holidays after gas network Cadent consulted highways officers at Wigan Council.

An off-peak only lane closure on the westbound side from 9.30am to 3.30pm continues to be in place.

Letters have been sent to homes in a two-mile radius and warning signs have advised of the measures for the last week.

A diversion route will be signposted.

The work is part of a project managed by Cadent, which has been replacing a two-mile stretch of leak prone pipe since September.

The multi-million-pound upgrade of a main carries gas to heat thousands of local homes.

The metallic main – installed in the 1930s – is being replaced with a tough, durable plastic pipe to ensure reliable, safe supplies in the next century.

Craig Horrocks, who heads Cadent’s gas mains replacement programme in the North West, said: “This is a big engineering project, and, to date, we’ve been able to keep the road open by working – in agreement with Wigan Council – only in off-peak hours, Monday to Friday.

“But we now need to work on the pipe that’s directly under the crossing at Newton Road and cannot do that safely without closing this junction.

"We know this is not ideal, but hope people appreciate it’s been planned in during school holidays, when roads are usually quieter.”

Every year, Cadent invests around £77.5m upgrading around 310 miles of its older gas mains in the North West region.