DRIVERS are being warned to expect disruption as five weeks of essential gas mains replacement work starts in Colchester town centre.

Cadent engineers started work replacing around 200m of ageing gas pipes with newer examples on Friday.

Work is set to take five-weeks and will take place in High Street, St Nicholas Street, Museum Street, Maidenburgh Street, George Street and Stockwell Street.

A number of road closures will be needed on side streets and some bus stop and parking bays will be suspended.

These will be implemented in phases in a bid to minimise disruption.

New pipes will be inserted into the old gas mains if possible to avoid the need for large scale excavations.

Businesses will maintain access at all times and some residents' supplies may need to be replaced, however individual properties will be notified nearer to the time.

Vine Doggett, Cadent authorising engineer, said: "This project will help ensure our gas network keeps the local community connected to safe and reliable gas supplies for cooking and heating until the 22nd century.

“It will also cut future disruption caused by leaks from ageing gas pipes.

"We’ve planned the work in close discussion with the local authorities and carefully designed it to ensure we deliver it with as little disruption as possible."