UNITED Utilities believes it has “allayed a lot of fears” about plans that would see key routes in Carlisle hit by a year of roadworks.

Work is due to start in January on a scheme to refurbish two pipelines that run down Montgomery Way, along Warwick Road and towards Victoria Place.

A public consultation on the project started yesterday, with residents raising concerns about road closures and access during a session at Carlisle United’s Brunton Park ground.

Paul Wheadon, third party co-ordinator for United Utilities, said: “We’ve allayed a lot of peoples’ fears because I think many thought we were going to dig a trench down Warwick Road and we’re not.”

Clive Beck, a 69-year-old who lives on Thirwell Gardens, said his biggest concerns centred on access.

He said of yesterday’s session: “It was very positive and very helpful. I asked a number of questions, all of which they have done their best to answer.”

Botcherby Councillor Robert Betton was also there.

He said: “I think if people are coming in to a drop-in like this it will be self explanatory to them what is happening.”

Along with the consultation evening, United Utilities also has a helpline where people can find out more details.

John Norbury, 69, of Petteril Street, said: “I am a car driver so it was access and parking I had questions about.

“Petteril Street at the Warwick Road end can be crowded with cars at the best of times.

“I was worried that if they were doing so much of Warwick Road that there would actually be forcing the cars to park in Petteril Street.”

After attending the meeting, he said: “I’ve had a good explanation and I’m quite happy that they’ve explained how it shouldn’t affect my parking too much.

“I’m retired so I’m not bothered about the rush-hour traffic.”

Work on the large pipes being upgraded may take up to 12 months to complete, with engineers working on on one pipe at a time to ensure others are kept in operation to keep taps flowing.

Some of the pipes which supply water to almost 43,000 properties in the Carlisle area are more than 90 years old. A £14m upgrade programme is underway.