The cables are part of National Grid’s Hinkley Connection Project, which, once complete, will connect new sources of low-carbon energy, such as Hinkley Point C, to homes and businesses.
People living and working closest to where work will begin in Nailsea were invited to Thursday’s event, which was hosted by National Grid at Gemini Gymnastics on Blackfriars Road. They viewed plans and maps, which showed the route of the underground cables, the two lines of existing pylons that will be removed and the location of the new T-pylon line to the west of Nailsea. Traffic management plans were also available and there was opportunity to chat to the senior engineers working on the project.
Tony Dyas, Lead Project Manager, said: “It was great to welcome so many people to the event, talk through the plans and address questions and concerns face-to-face.
“We recognise that the installation of underground cabling will impact local people and businesses, and we're working hard to limit that and keep disruption to a minimum. This includes working closely with the Local Highways Authority on the traffic management plan and keeping people up-to-date about activity that is starting in their area and what to expect at each stage of the work.”
Before construction begins in other areas of the cable route, National Grid will be inviting residents and businesses to similar events, as well as provide updated project briefings to the parish and town councils.
The programme for installing the underground cables between Nailsea and Portishead substation will start in January 2020 and National Grid expects to complete the work by Autumn 2021.
National Grid’s contractors on the underground cable, J Murphy & Sons, will start work at various locations building temporary entrances and access roads developing access routes and installing secure fencing around the whole of the construction area.
The first stage of work begins in January with the construction of temporary road entrances on Engine Lane and Hanham Way/Watery Lane in the west end of Nailsea. When the access roads are complete and the construction area is fenced and secure, work will begin on excavating trenches to construct ducts and joint bays for the cables and installation and connection of the cables.
The nature of the trenching and cable laying process means that residents will in some areas see intense periods of activity, interspersed with quieter phases. However, access will remain controlled throughout the construction period.
“Though residents may see quieter periods during the process, it’s important for the safety of the public that access to the construction area is tightly controlled at all times throughout the works,” explains Tony.
Once the cables are in place and operational, the next step is to take down existing pylons and build new T-pylons to the west of Nailsea. This work will be undertaken by Balfour Beatty. Details of the T-pylon construction programme are being finalised and will be available early next year.