SSEN Distribution is making good progress with upgrade to the Corran electricity network

SSEN Distribution’s upgrade to electricity supplies in the Ardnamurchan peninsula is progressing well, with the installation of three new power cables under Loch Linnhe, from Bunree to Ardgour, due to be completed early next year.

The project, which was years in the planning before teams arrived on site in the summer, will replace SSEN’s existing infrastructure to the north of the Corran Ferry crossing and will significantly increase the resilience of the cables supplying power to the wider Ardnamurchan peninsula.

This new trio of cables are set within three ducts which are currently being laid by contractors, O’Connor Utilities (OCU) with support from Corrigan Contractors, the local subcontractor based on the adjacent Ardgour Estate.

OCU Site Manager, Kev Cooke, a veteran of many such infrastructure campaigns, said:

“This has been a complex and rewarding project, and throughout we’ve been warmly welcomed by the local communities in Ardgour and Corran.  By engaging with schools and community councils, our teams have kept them updated on its progress and long-term benefits.” 

OCU has completed the drilling of the third cable bore, with reaming recently finished, providing added strength to the subterranean structure. Long polyethylene (PE) pipe used for the main cable duct will now be pulled through the hole, beneath the loch and back towards the Bunree site.

The project was made possible by locating Europe’s second largest Horizontal Directional Drilling rig at Bunree, just a few hundred yards from the teeming A82 trunk road. Through careful planning and consultation, the impact on the local community has been kept to a minimum with little disruption on either side of the loch and certainly none on its waters, home to one of the busiest ferry services in Europe, with over 270,000 annual vehicle crossings. 

Mel Chisholm, SSEN’s Lead Project Manager added:

“The success of this project is testament to the teamwork between ourselves, O’Connor Utilities and Corrigan Contractors. The incredible support of the communities and businesses on both sides of the water has also been invaluable in delivering this challenging programme of works.” 

Once the duct installation has been completed this week, O’Connor will begin the dismantling of the drill rig for removal over the next couple of weeks. 

The project is forecast for completion early in the New Year, with some remaining reinstatement works required in the spring.

In the above aerial photo you can see the section of the A861 where SSEN Distribution installed the new cable ducting at the start of this month.

About the author

Van on rural road

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

We're responsible for maintaining the electricity networks supplying over 3.8 million homes and businesses across central southern England and north of the Central Belt of Scotland. We own one electricity transmission network and two electricity distribution networks, comprising 106,000 substations and 130,000 km of overhead lines and underground cables across one third of the UK. Our first priority is to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity to the communities we serve in Scotland and England.

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