Underground drilling begins from Shotley peninsula to Harwich for UK Power Network upgrades

The specialist drill being used to help lay underground cables. Picture: UK POWER NETWORKS

The specialist drill being used to help lay underground cables. Picture: UK POWER NETWORKS - Credit: Archant

Drilling has begun beneath the River Stour between the Shotley peninsula and Harwich as part of the next phase of a £30million power upgrade.

Cable ducts ready to be installed underground. Picture: UK POWER NETWORKS

Cable ducts ready to be installed underground. Picture: UK POWER NETWORKS - Credit: Archant

Expert engineers from the Netherlands began work on a 1.7km stretch between the Shotley Peninsula and land near Harwich International port in Parkeston, where upgraded equipment and fresh cables are being laid.

The work features underground cables being laid and upgrading existing kit beneath the ground as part of the scheme which will boost power supplies in Suffolk and north Essex.

Project manager Chris Sugars said: “Drilling beneath rivers is a specialist task so we are working with expert engineers from the Netherlands to complete this challenging phase of what is a complex project.

“We completed drilling under the railway line and under the A120 between the port and the primary school last week and have now begun drilling under the river, which is due be finished by the end of October.


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“The new underground electricity network is due to be powered up by the end of next year – so increasing the capacity to the area and meet the growing demands of our 45,000 customers in north Essex and south Suffolk for decades to come.”

The work will also feature further cable-laying between the port in Harwich and Dovercourt, as well as upgrades to the substation at Dovercourt itself.

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Last month, engineers finished drilling beneath the River Orwell where electricity cables were laid beneath the river bed between Trimley and Shotley – more than a kilometre of wiring.

UK Power Networks confirmed that all the drilling sites it was working on would be restored to how they looked before, with additional enhancements in Trimley and Shotley.

The utility firm said that once it has been completed, electricity supply would be more reliable as it would be solely underground.

The upgrade means 21km of overhead lines between Nacton and Felixstowe will come down, which will also improve the appearance of the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Special Protection Areas along the Orwell and the coast.

The project is due to be completed by the end of 2018.

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