£2.6m project to upgrade local electricity network begins this month
A £2.6m project to replace 7 km of electricity cable in and around Portland is due to start on 15 January. When complete, the new cables will make the local network more robust and resilient and minimise the risk of power cuts for customers in the Weymouth area.
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) , the distributor of electricity to customers across central southern England, will be removing the current cable which is nearing the end of its working life, and replacing it with the latest, state-of-the-art, equivalent.
The project is due to last for most of 2018 and will be delivered in two distinct phases; the first will see the new cable installed along Portland Beach Road and parts of Weymouth, and the second phase will be when SSEN teams remove the old cable from Chesil Beach.
The initial work on Portland Beach Road will begin on 15 January. Teams will work there for approximately five weeks, before the route continues into Weymouth itself where teams will complete the installation and energise the new cable. In total, this part of the project will last approximately 16 weeks.
All roads will remain open throughout the cable installation. For the safety of road-users and staff working on the installation, a traffic management programme has been agreed with the local Highways Department and will see temporary traffic lights installed at the start and finish of each short section of road being worked on as the teams progress along the route.
Miles Crossley, SSEN’s Strategic Investment Project Manager, explained how the work will improve supplies to customers in the local area:
“We want to do everything we can to keep the lights on for our customers 24/7, and our project to replace the current cable is an essential part of this commitment. As with any work on the public highways, there will be an element of unavoidable disruption and I would like to reassure commuters and the local communities that we will do all we can to keep this to a minimum.”
Chesil Beach is also home to a variety of wild birds and rare plants, and in conjunction with Natural England, SSEN’s project team has agreed a timetable and method of works which will avoid any disturbance to these species. This means that after the work to install and energise the new cable is completed in April, the second phase of the project to remove the old cable will not begin until September thereby avoiding the birds’ breeding season.
“As a responsible network operator, we understand the significance of Chesil Beach to the local bird community and are grateful for all the help we have received from Natural England to ensure that our essential work does not disturb their breeding season.”