Grafton Street in Broadgate is to be closed to traffic, and even resident's parking for up to 6 months. The whole street will resemble a massive building site, as it will be open only to contractors vehicles, the work is scheduled to begin in May, and may last until October.
Broadgate residents are preparing themselves for months, if not years of traffic chaos, as the work will continue along Strand Road, and involve the sinking of several tunnel shafts.
The crucial work is part of the Preston Tunnel Project, a major piece of civil engineering by United Utilities which will allow, when it is finished, for the storage of up to 30,000 cubic metres of storm water overflow, and will include 5 kilometres of pipework which will transfer waste water to the Clifton Marsh Water Treatment Works.
While residents are concerned about the inconvenience, noise, dirt and dust, most are aware of promises by the authorities that this work will significantly improve Preston's flood defences, as it enables much more effective drainage of storm waters that create the kind of flash flooding we're now all too familiar with, as well as improving water quality in the River Ribble, and in the Estuary.
The tunnels in Preston will follow the paths of existing roads and will not travel under buildings apart from those owned by United Utilities. Restoration will also be carried out after the underground work is complete.
Three shafts will be dug at Watery Lane, Marsh Lane and Fishergate Hill to allow digging machines to travel 26m underground to create a tunnel between the sites.
From Preston the pipes will travel under the river to a new pumping station in Penwortham, before passing beneath farmland and the river to Clifton Marsh.
The project has been planned to help the river comply with European legislation on bathing water quality.
Once complete, improvements should be seen to shellfish waters along the estuary and to beaches at Southport, Ainsdale, St Annes and Blackpool.